Police Find 30 Bodies Across Baghdad

An Iraqi army soldier on top of his armored vehicle patrols on a deserted street during prayer day vehicle ban, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Sept.15, 2006. The bodies of 29 people who appeared to have been torture before being killed where found strewn around Baghdad, police said Friday. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban)
An Iraqi army soldier on top of his armored vehicle patrols on a deserted street during prayer day vehicle ban, in Baghdad, Iraq, Friday, Sept.15, 2006. The bodies of 29 people who appeared to have been torture before being killed where found strewn around Baghdad, police said Friday. (AP Photo/Hadi Mizban) (Hadi Mizban - AP)

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By REBECCA SANTANA
The Associated Press
Friday, September 15, 2006; 8:35 AM

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- Police found 30 bodies bearing signs of torture Friday, the latest in a wave of sectarian killings sweeping the Iraqi capital despite a monthlong security operation.

A U.S. Marine was killed Friday in Anbar province, and an American soldier was killed Thursday evening by a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad, the military said. The soldier was the fifth to have died on Thursday, making it a particularly bloody day for U.S. forces.

In central Baghdad, a gunman opened fire from the top of an abandoned building in a Sunni Arab neighborhood, killing an Iraqi civilian and wounding five others, said police Lt. Ahmed Mohammed Ali.

Violence has intensified over the past two days, with more than 130 people either killed by attacks or their bodies found dumped in the streets of Baghdad. All the bodies found Friday had signs of torture, and one that washed up on the banks of the Tigris River had been dismembered.

Both the U.S. government and military have said sectarian killings and violence are surging around Iraq, although the military said attacks have been limited to parts of Baghdad not yet included in a security offensive that began on Aug. 7.

On Thursday, the U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, John Bolton, told the Security Council that Iraq's sectarian killings and kidnappings had increased in the last three months, along with a rise in the number of displaced people.

He said ethnic and sectarian violence was "one of the most significant threats to security and stability in Iraq." The average number of weekly attacks increased 15 percent in the last three months, and Iraqi casualties rose by 51 percent, Bolton said.

Maj. Gen. William B. Caldwell, the U.S. command's spokesman, said the violence had intensified in areas that have not been reached by Operation Together Forward, a security sweep involving 12,000 U.S. and Iraqi soldiers.

"The terrorists and death squads are clearly targeting civilians outside of the focus areas," Caldwell said Thursday.

In areas that have been part of the operation, U.S. and Iraqi forces have cleared more than 52,000 buildings, found 32 weapon caches, detained 91 people and seized more than 1,200 weapons, Caldwell said.

In one of the few positive developments for the U.S.-led coalition and the Iraqi government, officials reported the killing of a senior member of al-Qaida in Iraq and the capture of another.

Abu Jaafar al-Liby, described by the ministry as either the second or third most important figure in al-Qaida in Iraq, was killed by police earlier this week, the ministry said Thursday.


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