Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Mass Grave Found Near Lake Tharthar, Iraq

excerpt from:
Mass grave discovered near Baghdad

U.S.-backed Sunni tribesmen found the grave while patrolling the village of Jazeerah, 15 miles west of Samarra near Lake Tharthar, said Col. Mazin Younis Hussein, commander of the Samarra support force, a group of local men working with U.S. forces.

Some of the bodies were severely decomposed, suggesting they had been buried months ago, while other victims appeared to have been killed recently, said Samarra police Lt. Muthana Shakir, who visited the site Tuesday and saw the bodies.

As many as 200 bodies have been unearthed in recent months from mass graves around Lake Tharthar. Al-Qaida in Iraq controlled the area, as well as huge swaths of Iraq's western deserts, until being ousted early this year in an uprising by local tribes.

Also Tuesday, at least three Iraqis were killed and one child was injured after American soldiers stormed a tiny one-room house north of Baghdad and opened fire, U.S. and Iraqi officials said.

Iraqi police, relatives and neighbors said a couple and their 19-year-old son were shot to death in their beds late Monday. But the U.S. military said soldiers came under fire and killed two suspected members of a terrorist cell in self-defense. It said it did not know who shot the woman or the child.

The U.S. military reported only three dead, but Iraqi police said two young girls were wounded and one died Tuesday at a hospital.

It was the second time in as many days that the U.S. military conceded involvement in the death of Iraqi civilians.

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