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Iraqi police dig up 31 bodies in Baghdad

Written by: Staff
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BAGHDAD, Mar 14 (Reuters) Iraqi police said they found 31 bodies with gunshot wounds in southeast Baghdad today, raising the number of victims of apparent sectarian killings discovered in the capital since last morning to at least 80.

Police said some appeared to have been tortured and killed in the last few days. They had been shot, gagged and bound -- typical hallmarks of victims of sectarian violence that has raised fears of civil war.

Others appeared to have been killed about a week to 10 days ago, police said.

The unusually high number of violent deaths over a short period comes two days after car bombs ripped through a Shi'ite militia stronghold in Baghdad, killing 52 people and raising fears of revenge attacks.

Police said they had finished digging for more bodies in the al-Kamaliya district of southeast Baghdad where an initial 29 corpses were found.

''Some children were playing soccer and they smelled something strong and the police were notified. They were buried in one large pit,'' said a police official.

Two other corpses were found nearby, he said.

Baghdad hospital received the bodies of 40 people killed in separate incidents in Baghdad in the 24-hours since last morning, a source in the hospital said. He said they had all been shot.

The bodies of 15 people were found bound and strangled in western Baghdad, police said.

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