Terrorists execute 19 Turkomen and two Kurds in Diyala province, Iraq

Sunday, June 4, 2006

Position of the Governate of Diyala, Iraq

Gunmen in Iraq have killed 19 Turkomen, two Kurds and injured one while sparing the lives of four Sunnis. The deaths came after three minibuses were ambushed at a bogus "checkpoint" in Diyala province.

A police official said the victims were taken "one by one from their cars and executed." 12 students, as young as 15, and older men were among the dead in the attack, 55 kilometres northeast of Baghdad.

Some were shot as they tried to flee the scene. Reuters news agency has released photographs that showed six of the victims were shot in the chest.

The Mayor of Qara Tappah, Serwan Shokir, said the buses were carrying commuters from his town to Baqouba where the students were going to take exams.

Police questioned the Sunni Arabs who were not killed by the gunmen about the incident.

The killings in Diyala, an ethnically mixed part of Iraq, come as Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is working to find interior and defence ministers for the fledgling US-supported Shiite-led democracy.

On the tactics used by the terrorists, police said they had created their own checkpoint near Udhaim and had stopped the vehicles to kill the passengers.