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    Iraqi police go on killing spree

    Iraqi police go on killing spree
    At least 45 Sunnis killed in apparent reprisal for bombings in Tal Afar
    MSNBC News Services
    Updated: 6:51 a.m. ET March 28, 2007

    BAGHDAD, Iraq - Off-duty Shiite policemen enraged by massive bombings in the northern town of Tal Afar went on a revenge spree against Sunni residents there on Wednesday, killing at least 45 men, police and hospital officials said.

    The policemen began roaming the town’s Sunni neighborhoods on foot early in the morning, shooting at Sunni residents and homes.

    A senior hospital official in Tal Afar said at least 45 men ages 15 to 60 were killed and four others were wounded.

    Police said dozens of Sunnis were killed or wounded, but they had no precise figures. The shooting continued for more than two hours, the officials said.

    “I wish you can come and see all the bodies. They are lying in the grounds. We don’t have enough space in the hospital. All of the victims were shot in the head,” a doctor at the main hospital told Reuters by telephone.

    “No less than 45 people were killed. I’ve never seen such a thing in my life,” said the doctor, who refused to be named because he said he feared for his life.

    Tal Afar, located 260 miles northwest of Baghdad, is in the province of Ninevah, of which Mosul is the capital.

    Spike in violence
    The attacks follow an upsurge in violence in Baghdad and outside the capital in recent days. U.S. and Iraqi security forces have deployed thousands more soldiers in Baghdad to try to stem a sectarian war threatening to tear the country apart.

    In Tuesday’s truck bombings in Tal Afar, one suicide bomber lured victims to buy wheat loaded on his truck in a Shiite neighborhood. A second truck bomb exploded in a used car lot. The attacks killed 63 people and wounded more than 150.

    In 2006, President Bush held up Tal Afar as an example of progress being made in Iraq after U.S.-led forces freed it from al-Qaida in an offensive the previous year.
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