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Blindfolded and Shot: Iraq Officials Find 50 Bodies South of Baghdad

BAGHDAD - Iraqi officials discovered 50 bodies, many of them blindfolded and with their hands bound, in an agricultural area outside a city south of Baghdad on Wednesday, raising concerns over a possible sectarian killing amid the battle against a Sunni insurgency. The bodies, all of them with gunshot wounds, were found in the predominantly Shiite village of Khamissiya outside the city of Hillah, located some 95 kilometers (60 miles) south of Baghdad, said military spokesman Brig. Gen. Saad Maan Ibrahim. He said an investigation was underway to determine the identities of the dead as well as the circumstances of the killings.

The dead were all men between the ages of 25 and 40, and it appeared they had been killed a few days earlier and then dumped in the remote area, said a local police officer and a medical official. They spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media. While the motives remain unclear, such grisly killings harken back to the worst days of Iraq's sectarian bloodletting in 2006 and 2007.

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- The Associated Press