Officials have found 56 bodies bearing signs of torture scattered around the Iraqi capital in the past 24 hours, all apparent victims of sectarian death squads, police said Friday.
The bodies, all men between 20 and 45 years of age, were found between 6 a.m. Thursday and 6 a.m. Friday, said police Lt. Mohammed Khayon.
All wore civilian clothes and had been bound at the wrists and ankles, Khayon said. He said the bodies showed signs of having been tortured, a common practice among religious extremists who seize victims from private homes or from cars and buses traveling the capital's dangerous streets.
Such murders almost always go unsolved and Khayon said the police had no solid information on who the victims were, where and when they were killed, or by whom.
In other developments:CBS Radio reports that on Monday, the Army Times, Navy Times, Marine Corps Times, and the Air Force Times will be running editorials calling for the resignation of Donald Rumsfeld. There is a report that an Iraqi uncle of a kidnapped American soldier has received a ransom demand for the soldier's release. Time magazine is reporting on its Web site that the uncle met this week in Baghdad with someone claiming to be an intermediary of the kidnappers. He tells the magazine that he was shown a grainy video on a cell phone screen of a man identified as the missing soldier, Ahmed Qusai al-Taayie. The 41-year-old reservist from Ann Arbor, Michigan, was visiting his Iraqi wife when gunmen handcuffed him and took him away. The man on the video appeared bloodied and beaten.U.S. troops killed 13 suspected insurgents in a raid south of Baghdad early Friday, the military said. Troops were acting on intelligence reports saying a suspect with links to al Qaeda in Iraq was in the building in Mahmoudiya, about 20 miles south of Baghdad, the military said. Five people were killed inside the building, including one man wearing a vest rigged with explosives, while eight other men who fled were gunned down by troops on the ground and planes or helicopters circling above, the report said. Explosives, hand grenades and other explosive-rigged vests used by suicide bombers, were discovered in a search of the area, the report said.Three soldiers and a Marine were killed in fighting Thursday in volatile Anbar province, the military said. The most recent U.S. casualties took to five the number of U.S. service members killed so far this month. The military said three soldiers were killed in eastern Baghdad on Thursday when the vehicle they were riding in was struck by a roadside bomb. A separate announcement said one Marine died from injuries "sustained due to enemy action" Thursday in Anbar. The names of the four service members were being withheld until their families had been notified.Police Lt. Thaer Mahoud said the death toll in the rush-hour bombing of a crowded market in Baghdad's Sadr City district Thursday had risen to 11 on Friday, with 51 reported wounded. The bombing was the first in the area since Minister Nouri al-Maliki ordered the lifting Tuesday of the week-old U.S.-Iraqi army security blockade on the sprawling Shiite neighborhood of 2.5 million people, the repeated target of bombings by Sunni insurgents. A group of Minnesota National Guard soldiers in Iraq has made a comically misspelled sign mocking Sen. John Kerry's recent comments about the education level of troops, and their handiwork is getting plenty of attention. The Massachusetts Democrat told a group of college students this week that people who do not study and do their homework were likely to "get stuck in Iraq." Kerry has since apologized, saying he botched a joke meant to be about President Bush.U.S. National Intelligence Director John Negroponte was in Baghdad on Friday for previously unannounced talks with Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, the Iraqi leader's office and Iraqi state television said. The television gave no other details and U.S. Embassy officials were not immediately available for comment. Yassin Majid, the prime minister's spokesman, said the two men were in meetings in the Iraqi leader's office in Baghdad's heavily fortified Green Zone.