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Iraqi gunmen kill 47 at "checkpoint"-officials

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, Feb 23 (Reuters) - Gunmen at a makeshift checkpoint dragged at least 47 people from their cars, shot them and dumped their bodies in a village ditch near Baghdad today, Iraqi police, Interior Ministry and local officials said.

The bodies of the victims -- Sunni and Shi'ite protesters who had attended a demonstration against the bombing of an important religious site yesterday -- were discovered in the village of Nahrawan south of Baghdad, officials said.

The gunmen set up the checkpoint to capture the protesters as they returned home from a demonstration against the bombing of the Shi'ite shrine in Samarra north of Baghdad.

The victims were all dumped in a ditch beside the road, said Dhary Thoaban, deputy chairman of the Diyala local council.

Local Sunni residents of Nahrawan have previously accused Shi'ite militiamen of attacking them in the past.

REUTERS MP RAI2122

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