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Iraq police find 17 bodies, some blindfolded with their hands bound in Baghdad as tension rise

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BAGHDAD — Iraqi police found 17 bullet-riddled bodies in different areas of the capital, Baghdad, officials said Monday, raising fears of more sectarian bloodletting at a time of soaring tensions following Sunni insurgent seizing territory across the country.

Authorities found the bodies of 14 men and three women dumped in the streets late Sunday and early Monday, two police officers said. Some had suffered gunshot wounds to the heads and chest, with others blindfolded and bound, they said. Some showed signs of being tortured, they said.

Officers found no identification cards on the bodies and police could not offer a motive in their killings.

The discovery is a grim reminder of the sectarian killing that engulfed Iraq in 2006 and 2007. Then, both Shiite and Sunni death squads roamed the streets and raided homes to round up people. Authorities later found the victims' corpses, often mutilated.

PHOTO: Iraqis visit the grave of a relative on the first day of Eid al-Fitr in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, July 28, 2014. Monday marked the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims usually start the day by visiting cemeteries, to pay their respects to the dead, and then exchange family visits. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)
Iraqis visit the grave of a relative on the first day of Eid al-Fitr in Baghdad, Iraq, Monday, July 28, 2014. Monday marked the beginning of the three-day Eid al-Fitr holiday, which caps the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan. Muslims usually start the day by visiting cemeteries, to pay their respects to the dead, and then exchange family visits. (AP Photo/Karim Kadim)

Also Monday, driver-by shooters armed with pistols fitted with silencers killed four men in different areas in Baghdad, police said.

Medical officials confirmed the casualty figure. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the media.

Since early this year, the al-Qaida breakaway Islamic State group has taken over large swaths of land in western and northern Iraq, including Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, which was captured in June. The group has imposed a self-styled caliphate in territory they control in Iraq and Syria, imposing their harsh interpretation of Islamic law.


Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.

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