Bullet-riddled corpses echo brutal Iraqi sectarian war

Bullet-riddled corpses echo brutal Iraqi sectarian war

BAGHDAD - The bullet-riddled bodies of 10 young men were found in Baghdad on Thursday, in a bleak reminder of Iraq's brutal Sunni-Shiite sectarian conflict that almost tore the country apart.

And a series of attacks the same day killed 17 more people, the latest in a surge in violence that Iraqi authorities have so far failed to stem.

Security and morgue officials said the unidentified men - aged 17 to 25 - had been shot in the head and chest. They had been dead for up to two days, an army source said.

The corpses were recovered close to a disused pharmaceuticals plant at Mahamel near the capital's eastern Shiite district of Sadr City.

Summary executions were commonplace at the height of the Sunni-Shiite conflict in 2006-2007, when many thousands died.

This was the first time in several years that such a large number of bodies had been found in one place.

The executions added to violence that has cost more than 4,200 lives this year, the highest toll since 2008, when Iraq was emerging from its brutal sectarian war.

The upsurge has raised fears of civil war.

Militants, including those linked to Al-Qaeda, have struck mosques, marketplaces and even football fields, and also carried out brazen assaults on two major prisons.

On Thursday, at least eight people were killed and 25 wounded by a bomb in a market in Abu Ghraib, west of Baghdad, officials said.

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