New savage twist to violence in Baghdad
By STEVEN R. HURST, Associated Press Writer Fri Nov 24, 7:04 PM ET
BAGHDAD, Iraq - Revenge-seeking Shiite militiamen seized six Sunnis as they left Friday prayers, drenched them with kerosene and burned them alive, and Iraqi soldiers did nothing to stop the attack, police and witnesses said
The fiery slayings in the mainly Sunni neighborhood of Hurriyah were a dramatic escalation of the brutality coursing through the Iraqi capital, coming a day after suspected Sunni insurgents killed 215 people in Baghdad's main Shiite district with a combination of bombs and mortars.
The attacks culminated Baghdad's deadliest week of sectarian fighting since the war began more than three years ago.
Police Capt. Jamil Hussein said Iraqi soldiers at a nearby army post failed to intervene in the burnings of Sunnis carried out by suspected members of the Shiite Mahdi Army militia, or in subsequent attacks that torched four Sunni mosques and killed at least 19 other Sunnis, including women and children, in the same northwest Baghdad area.
Imad al-Hasimi, a Sunni elder in Hurriyah, confirmed Hussein's account. He told Al-Arabiya television he saw people who were soaked in kerosene, then set afire, burning before his eyes.
Two workers at Kazamiyah Hospital said the bodies from the clashes and immolations had been taken to the morgue at their facility. They refused to be identified by name, saying they feared retribution.