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Farmers Killed in Iraq For Helping US Forces

Wednesday, 18 Aug 2010 08:02 AM


BAQUBA, Iraq — Three murdered farmers whose bodies bore leaflets warning against cooperation with US and Iraqi forces were among six people killed in violence in Iraq on Wednesday, security officials said.

The attack came a day after a suicide bomb at an army recruitment centre in Baghdad killed 59 people, most of them prospective soldiers, in the bloodiest attack in Iraq this year. It also came as US forces withdraw from the country ahead of a declaration of an end to combat operations at the end of August.

In the village of Rabiyah, northeast of Baghdad in central Diyala province, 10 masked gunmen carrying machine guns and silenced pistols and claiming to be members of Al-Qaeda raided the houses of three Shiite farmers, dragged them outside and shot them dead.

"They brought them outside of their homes and then shot them," said police Major Mohammed al-Karkhi. "Then they left leaflets on their bodies which said, 'This is the future for all those who cooperate with the US military and Iraqi security forces.'"

Ahmed al-Zarkushi, the mayor of Saadiyah district of which Rabiyah is a part, said the three men, all members of the same tribe, had no ties to the US or Iraqi militaries, and were farmers.

"They raided one house after the other, and in each house they forced all the family members into one room, and took the father outside," Zarkushi said.

"They then killed him in front of the house, and put leaflets on his body and left. After they killed three people, they escaped, and then people called the security forces."

Rabiyah is a predominantly Shiite village in Saadiyah, where a week ago insurgents lured Iraqi troops into a booby-trapped house, killing eight soldiers in coordinated blasts.

Two other people were killed and two wounded by a roadside bomb in front of the courthouse in Tikrit, north of Baghdad, at around 7:30 am (0430 GMT) on Wednesday, a police colonel said.

A communications ministry official was also shot dead in Harithiyah, a western district of the capital, an interior ministry official said.

The latest unrest, with around 200 people having been killed this month, comes with less than two weeks to go before US forces declare an end to combat operations in Iraq. At that point, their troop levels will be at the lowest level since the 2003 invasion that ousted dictator Saddam Hussein.

While US commanders insist local forces are up to the job, the top Iraqi officer Lieutenant General Babaker Zebari said earlier this month that American troops would have to stay until 2020 before his soldiers would be ready.

Iraq is also mired in a political impasse, with no new government formed more than five months after elections.

Copyright © 2010 AFP. All rights reserved.

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