Hadi Mizban  /  AP
Iraqis mourn over the coffin of their relative as they take the body for burial from the hospital mortuary in Baghdad Wednesday. Police on Wednesday said they found the bodies of 65 men who had been tortured and then shot before being dumped around Baghdad.
updated 9/13/2006 1:36:00 PM ET 2006-09-13T17:36:00

Police said Wednesday they found the bodies of 65 men who had been tortured, shot and dumped, most around Baghdad, while car bombs and mortar attacks killed at least 39 people and wounded dozens more.

Two U.S. soldiers were also killed — one on Monday from enemy action in restive Anbar province and the other Tuesday by a roadside bomb south of Baghdad, the U.S. military command said.

The U.S. military said it could not confirm all the execution-style killings and said the numbers they had for the bodies so far was lower than that reported by police.

“It is looking like about a 50 percent discrepancy on execution-style killings so far,” said Maj. Josslyn Aberle, chief of the media relations division for the Multi-National Corps-Iraq.

The reason for the difference was not immediately clear. The confusion over numbers underscores the difficulty of obtaining accurate death tolls in Iraq, which lacks the reporting and tracking systems of most modern nations. Also, counts by the U.S. military often lag behind those of the police.

Bodies dumped in Sunni areas
Police said 60 of the bodies were found overnight scattered around Baghdad, with the majority dumped in predominantly Sunni Arab neighborhoods, police said.

All the bodies were bound, bore signs of torture and had been shot, police 1st Lt. Thayer Mahmoud said. Such killings are usually the work of death squads, operated by both Sunni Arabs and Shiite gangs and militias, who kidnap people and usually torture them with power drills or beat them badly before shooting them.

The head of Iraq’s largest Sunni Arab political bloc called on Shiite Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to honor a pledge to disband militias. Sunni Arabs blame many Shiite militias for equipping many of the death squads.

“We hope the government carries out what it pledged and disband militias and considers them terrorist organizations,” Adnan al-Dulaimi, head of the Iraqi Accordance Front told The Associated Press. His party holds 44 seats in the 275-member parliament.

“Their presence is deteriorating the situation and bringing more troubles to the political atmosphere.” al-Dulaimi added. “We call upon all religious authorities to raise their voices and demand militias be disarmed.”

According to police, 45 of the bodies were discovered in predominantly Sunni Arab parts of western Baghdad. The rest were found in predominantly Shiite areas of eastern Baghdad. Another five bodies were found floating in the Tigris River in Suwayrah, 25 miles south of Baghdad, according to police Lt. Mohammed al-Shimari.

Bomb blasts kill dozens
In the capital, a car bomb killed at least 19 people and wounded more than 62 after it detonated in a large square used mostly as a parking lot near the main headquarters of Baghdad’s traffic police department, police Cap. Mohammed Abdel-Ghani said.

But the U.S. military reported the death toll at 15 killed and 25 wounded, and said the blast was caused by two car bombs.

In eastern Baghdad, a parked car bomb exploded next to a passing Iraqi police patrol in the Zayona neighborhood, killing at least 12 people and wounding 34, the U.S. military reported. That number was higher than the eight originally reported by Iraqi police.

Using those two figures supplied by the military, the overall count would drop to at least 31 killed.

Two mortar shells struck al-Rashad police station in southeastern Baghdad, killing one policeman and wounding two others, said police 1st Lt. Mohammed Kheyoun.

Another two policemen were killed when two mortar rounds landed near their station in Baghdad’s eastern neighborhood of Mashtal, police Maj. Maher Hamid Mousa said. Three others were injured.

In the former insurgent stronghold of Fallujah, 40 miles west of Baghdad, two pedestrians were killed and two others injured apparently in the crossfire between U.S. troops and unidentified gunmen in the city’s main market, police Lt. Mohamed Sami said.

Gunmen killed a man in his car in southern Baghdad and another two gunmen were killed when they tried to kidnap the owner of a currency exchange business in western Baghdad.

Three mortar shells also landed in downtown Baghdad, wounding four civilians, said police 1st Lt. Thayer Mohammed.

The attacks came one day after attacks claimed the lives of at least two dozen people across Iraq.

Baghdad has been the focus of most violence, and thousands of U.S. and Iraqi forces are taking part in a security crackdown aimed to curtail some of the killing. According to the Iraqi Health Ministry, an average of 51 people a day died violently last month in the capital.

Timetable legislation debated
Meanwhile, some lawmakers squabbled over a resolution demanding a timetable for a U.S. troop withdrawal, and others failed to resolve a deadlock over a Shiite-sponsored bill that Sunni Arabs fear will carve up the country.

A group of lawmakers tried to take advantage Tuesday of the unpopularity of U.S. troops among many Shiite and Sunni legislators to seek approval of a resolution setting a timetable for the withdrawal of all foreign troops — which the mainstream Shiite-dominated government has so far refused to do.

Sponsored by supporters of radical Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr and some Sunni Arabs, the resolution managed to get 104 signatures in the 275-member parliament before was effectively shelved by being sent to a committee for review.

That committee will need at least six months to examine the resolution and present its findings to parliament. If and when approved, such a resolution would be binding on the government.

No headway was made on parliament’s most contentious issue since it reconvened last week from summer recess: legislation that will set in place the mechanism for establishing autonomous regions as part of a federal Iraq.

Sunni Arabs have said the bill could split the country into three distinct sectarian and ethnic cantons and have vehemently opposed it.

Although federalism is part Iraq’s new constitution, and there is already an autonomous Kurdish region in the north, special legislation and a referendum would be needed to turn Iraq into a full federation.

Parliament’s biggest political bloc, the Shiite United Iraqi Alliance submitted the bill last week. It would be the first step in creating a separate autonomous state in the predominantly Shiite south much like the zone run by Kurds in the north.

Objections from Sunni Arabs and an apparent split among Shiites led leaders to delay the debate until Sept. 19.

© 2013 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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