Beheaded bodies found as fighting continues in Mosul

Friday, November 19, 2004

MOSUL, Iraq — U.S. soldiers fighting in Mosul, Iraq discovered up to twelve beheaded bodies in the western part of the city, the New York Times has reported. The bodies are believed to be those of Iraqi soldiers killed for assisting U.S. forces in eliminating local resistance; however, no identification has been made.

The bodies were found after a Jordanian named Abu Musab al-Zarqawi made an Internet posting in which he claimed that two Iraqi National Guard officers had been publicly decapitated in Mosul. A local businessman, Senan Shukri, claims to have witnessed the executions, stating that all onlookers had been warned that if they moved or otherwise disturbed the bodies they, too, would be beheaded.

According to Lt. Col. Erik Kurilla of the 24th Infantry Regiment, high-ranking officials in the Iraqi National Guard have been notified of the claimed beheadings; he states, however, that they have been unable to determine if any of their officers were missing, pointing out that many were on leave and thus difficult to track down in any circumstance.

The bodies have not yet been removed by U.S. troops for fear that they might trigger booby-trapped explosives.