Civil War Escalates With Shootings and Immolation
Following the Thanksgiving massacre that left hundreds dead, violence has escalated in Iraq, including an attack on six Sunnis who were burned alive near a group of Iraqi soldiers. The soldiers did not intervene. Elsewhere, 21 Shiite men were executed in front of their relatives after they had been dragged from their homes. All told, at least 87 people died on Friday.
AP via Yahoo!:
Baghdad remained under a 24-hour curfew Saturday as coalition forces tried to prevent a surge of revenge attacks for the five bombings and two mortar rounds that killed 215 people in the Shiite slum of Sadr City on Thursday.
Such violence was particularly gruesome on Friday, when suspected Shiite militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left prayer services at mosques and burned them alive with kerosene in an attack in the mostly Shia neighborhood of Hurriyah.
Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in the assault by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia or subsequent attacks that killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same neighborhood, said police Capt. Jamil Hussein.
In recent months, most of the thousands of dead bodies that have been found dumped across Baghdad and other cities in central Iraq have been of victims who were tortured and then shot to death, according to police.
The suspected militia killers often have used electric drills on their captives’ bodies before killing them. The bodies are frequently decapitated. But burning victims alive introduced a new method of brutality that was likely to be reciprocated by the other sect as the Shiites and Sunnis continue killing one another in unprecedented numbers.
Friday’s gruesome attack capped a day during which at least 87 people were killed or found dead in sectarian violence across Iraq. In Hurriyah, the rampaging militiamen also burned and blew up four mosques and torched several homes in the district, Hussein said.