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Iraqis kill Sunni prisoners in apparent reprisal

By Staff
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BASRA, Iraq, Feb 23 (Reuters) Gunmen in police uniforms seized a dozen Sunni men suspected of being insurgents from a prison in the mainly Shi'ite city of Basra and later killed 11 of them, police and British forces said.

Among those killed in the apparent reprisal attack for the bombing of a major Shi'ite shrine earlier in the day were two Egyptians, police sources said yesterday. The others were Iraqis.

The attackers arrived in a convoy of cars at the Maakel prison and 11 of the prisoners were later found with gunshot wounds elsewhere.

A 12th was in a critical condition in hospital with gunshot wounds, said a spokesman for British forces occupying southern Iraq, who added that the gunmen had said they were from the Interior Ministry and presented documents for the prisoners.

Six bodies were found in Republic Street, police said. Three were discovered in the Sekak district of Basra. Two more were found in Leader Street. All of the bodies were now in the morgue in Basra, a police source said.

Sunni political leaders accuse U.S.-led occupying forces and security forces loyal to the Shi'ite-led government of detaining large numbers of minority Sunnis on flimsy evidence of links to the rebels.

Reuters PDS VP0615

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