Tal Afar killings to be investigated

The Shiite-led Iraqi government decided on Thursday, March 29, to investigate the slaughter of 70 Sunni Arabs in the northern town of Tal Afar by Shiite policemen.

Tal Afar killings to be investigated

"An order has been issued by the prime ministerto investigate the violations caused by elements of the police in TalAfar," Interior Minister Jawad Bolani, Shiite, told the state-run Iraqiyatelevision.

"We will take legal action against a group ofthem."

At least 70 Sunnis were killed and their bodies draggedout of their homes after marauding Shiite gunmen and policemen went on a bloodyrampage on Tuesday, March 27, in Tal Afar's Sunni district of Al-Wahada.

Thirteen Iraqi policemen were briefly arrested inconnection with the grisly mass killings.

But an Iraqi military spokesman in Mosul said that the detained policemen werereleased as many of them had lost relatives in a truck bombing prior to thebrutal rampage.

"We released them on the undertaking that theywill be questioned later. The decision was taken because of their psychologicalstate," he said without giving his name.

"All those killed and wounded are Sunnis,"said Doctor Dhafar Mohammed, from Tal Afar Hospital.

"The incident was a reprisal after targeting aShiite region," he added, referring to twin truck bombings that laid wasteto predominantly Shiite neighborhoods in Tall Afar a day earlier.

Tall Afar had as many as 200,000 residents severalyears ago, although US military officials say the population has declined to80,000.

Most residents are ethnic Turkmen, about 70 percentof them Sunni and 25 percent Shiite.

Massacre

Sunni survivors told horrifying tales of policemendragging killing pensioners, fathers, sons and teenagers out of their homes,handcuffing and blindfolding them before killing them in cold blood.

"They broke into our house wearing both policeuniforms and plain clothes," Umm Abdul Sattar told AFP in a crying voice.

"They killed my husband and killed my son. Thenthey sprayed me with bullets. I was shot in the leg," she said.

Local doctors and army officers confirmed that 70Sunni men were shot dead with bullets in the head.

Other 40 people were reported missing and a further30 -- mostly women -- wounded.

Two lorries crammed with the bodies of more than 50of the victims were moved to a hospital in Mosul, the regional capital, alongwith two ambulances ferrying women wounded in massacre, doctors said.

A doctor traveling in the convoy said the corpseswere shipped to Mosulto get death certificates, accusing the Shiite-dominated hospital authoritiesin Tal Afar of refusing to provide adequate certification.

Early Thursday, the dead bodies were driven from Mosul for burial at acemetery in the countryside.

They were seen off by several hundred mournerswailing in grief.

The attack was startling for several reasons,including the participation of police officers in the killings.

The Washington Post reported Wednesday thatrecently many trained Sunni policemen in the city were dismissed, and hundredsof untrained Shiites were hired to replace them.

Iraqi Sunnis have long accused the Shiite-dominatedsecurity forces of dirtying themselves with sectarian violence.

The massacre also makes a mockery of comments by USPresident George W. Bush in 2006 that "Tall Afar gives me confidence inour strategy."

Güncelleme Tarihi: 20 Eylül 2018, 18:16
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