Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Odierno: Execution-style sectarian killings drop in Baghdad since security plan

Bodies collected overnight in Baghdad in January

BAGHDAD, Iraq – Execution-style killings have fallen sharply in Baghdad since the security crackdown began this month, the No. 2 U.S. commander said Tuesday.

Figures compiled by The Associated Press from police reports show that the number of bullet-riddled bodies found in the streets this month totaled 628 as of Monday night. That was down from the 1,079 in January and 1,379 in December.

Such killings have generally been attributed to sectarian death squads – including Shiite militiamen, Sunni insurgents or rogue elements within the mostly Shiite army and police. The security crackdown officially began Feb. 14, although some U.S. and Iraqi units had been stepping up patrols and searches since earlier in the month.

“We have seen a decrease in the past three weeks – a pretty radical decrease,” Lt. Gen. Ray Odierno told reporters. “I'm not willing to draw any conclusions yet though because it's only (been) three weeks.”

Read the rest at the San Diego Tribune

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