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Patterns of Sectarian Violence in Baghdad
Over Half the Number of Unidentified Bodies Found in Five Areas of Baghdad
By ZEYAD KASIM 07/24/2007 05:04 AM ET
The distribution of unidentified bodies found dumped in Baghdad between June 18 and July 18, 2007.
Map by Zeyad Kasim
The distribution of unidentified bodies found dumped in Baghdad between June 18 and July 18, 2007.

Up to 592 unidentified bodies were found dumped in different parts of Baghdad in the period between June 18 and July 18, 2007, according to figures based on media reports compiled by Iraq Slogger. Most of the bodies found by the police – an average of 20 a day – are bound, blindfolded and shot execution style, victims of sectarian violence carried out by both Sunni and Shi’ite death squads. Many also bear signs of torture or mutilation, according to medical sources in Baghdad. Despite official Iraqi and U.S. statements to the contrary, the reports indicate that the number of unidentified bodies in the capital has risen again to pre-surge levels over the last two months.

A quick look at the map shows that over half the bodies are found in five specific districts of Baghdad: Amil (100 bodies), Saidiya (84), Bayya’ (67), Sadr City (39), and Dora (33), respectively. With the exception of Sadr City and Dora, both of which are almost completely cleansed from their former minority Sunni and Shi’ite communities, all mentioned districts are mixed and are witnessing a power struggle between Sunni and Shi’ite militants to control them and drive the other community out. They are also the least affected by current U.S. and Iraqi military operations in the capital, as media reports indicate that the U.S. military usually focuses on districts where they are attacked – such as the Sunni districts of Adhamiya, Jami’a and Khadhraa’ – rather than districts witnessing gruesome sectarian reprisal killings. Shi’ite-dominated Interior Ministry commandos currently patrol the top three districts in the list.

The five districts are closely followed by Ghazaliya, Shu’la and Mansour, with 21 bodies found in each over the same period. Incidentally, districts completely controlled by either Sunni or Shi’ite militias had witnessed the least number of unidentified corpses. Two thirds of the bodies were found in western Baghdad, while half the number was found in the districts south of the Baghdad International Airport highway alone.


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