Gunmen kill Shi'ite families in Baghdad after raid
IRAQ: Gunmen killed nine members of two Shi'ite families in a
mostly Sunni neighbourhood of Baghdad on Sunday and police found the
bodies of 60 more apparent victims of sectarian killings gripping the
A day after Shi'ite militias raided a mixed neighbourhood and forced
dozens of Sunni families to flee in one of the worst incidents of
sectarian cleansing in weeks, gunmen stormed a home in a predominantly
Sunni area in Baghdad and killed five brothers from one family after
separating them from the women.
A father and three sons from another family were also killed in the
attack in Jihad district, officials and relatives said.
In Washington, the Iraq Study Group, a bipartisan panel set up to
review U.S. policy, defended its recommendations that the United States
engage Syria and Iran in a dialogue aimed at stabilising Iraq, and
accelerate training of Iraqi forces in order to pull back U.S. combat
troops by early 2008.
More than 2,900 U.S. troops have died since the 2003 U.S. -led
invasion. Tens of thousands of Iraqis have died.
"What we're saying in this report is we want to conclude this war, we
want to conclude it in a responsible way," former Democratic Rep. Lee
Hamilton, a co-chair of the group, said.
"We do not want American forces involved in sectarian clashes or
violence, that's not our business," Hamilton said on the "Fox News
Sunday" television programme.
Former Secretary of State James Baker, also a co-chair of the group,
urged the Iraqi government to pursue national reconciliation between
Kurds, Shi'ites and Sunnis.
"If the Iraqi government cannot implement national reconciliation,
we're going to have an extraordinarily difficult time," Baker told NBC's
"Meet the Press" programme.
Bush, under pressure to change course, has shied away from embracing
major recommendations of the report, which described the situation in
Iraq as "grave and deteriorating.
While Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has welcomed the recommendations
of the Iraqi Study Group, Jalal Talabani, Iraq's ethnic Kurd president,
blasted the report, which suggested embedding thousands more U.S.
advisers in Iraq's security forces to quicken their training.
"It asks that they put foreign officers in every unit, which is a
violation of Iraq's sovereignty ... What will remain of our
sovereignty?" he said.
Baghdad, Monday, Reuters