Last updated: 10 May, 2012

Seven assassination victims found in central Iraq

Authorities found the corpses of seven men — all handcuffed, blindfolded and shot in the head — in a desert area of central Iraq on Thursday, officials said.

“We found seven corpses of unidentified men in the Saddamiyat al-Thartar area, north of Fallujah,” a security official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“They were all blindfolded and handcuffed, and shot in the head.”

A doctor at Ramadi hospital confirmed receiving the dead bodies, which were then sent to the city’s morgue.

It was unclear why the recently murdered men, whose bodies were discovered by a shepherd, were killed.

Fallujah and Ramadi lie in western Sunni Arab Anbar province. They were among several towns along the Euphrates valley that became Al-Qaeda strongholds after the 2003 US-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

However, in 2006, local Sunni tribes sided with the US military and unrest dwindled in Anbar as rebel fighters were ejected from the region.

Violence across the country is down from its peaks in 2006 and 2007, but attacks remain common. A total of 126 Iraqis were killed in April, according to official figures.