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36 missing Iraqi police applicants found dead

Group of 50 men was abducted January 16

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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- The bodies of 36 kidnapping victims who had applied to the Baghdad Police Academy have been found and identified, an official said Sunday.

Those bodies and 13 unidentified corpses have been found since Wednesday, killed by gunshots fired at a short distance, according to police.

A group of 50 men were abducted January 16 north of Baghdad after they had applied to the academy and were rejected for unknown reasons, said an official with the Salaheddin Joint Coordination Center.

They were abducted at an insurgent checkpoint, he said, about 31 miles (50 kilometers) north of Baghdad while on their way home to the town of Samarra.

Twenty-three of the bodies were found Sunday in Niba'i, the official said. Family members have identified 21 of them as having been among the 50.

Reports of the bodies began on Wednesday, when 13 were found in Niba'i. Family members identified nine of them as being from the group of rejected police.

On Friday, police said they had found seven additional bodies in Dujail. Those bodies have not been identified.

Sunday morning, Dujail police said they had found the bodies of six other applicants.

Meanwhile, there have been no reports since Tuesday on the fate of abducted U.S. journalist Jill Carroll, who has been missing since January 7. (Watch international pleas to spare abducted reporter's life -- 1:01)

Representatives from an American Muslim group are in Iraq to persuade kidnappers to free her. (Full story)

An Arabic-language television channel broadcast video Saturday of another kidnapping victim, a son of a former Iraqi government official. (Full story)

Attacks kill children, police

Two separate attacks north of Baghdad killed nine people Sunday, including four children and four Iraqi police officers, police said.

In the first strike, two girls and two boys, age 6 to 11, died in a rocket attack on the home of an Iraqi police officer in Balad Ruz, about 15 miles east of Baquba, said an official with the police joint communications center.

The rockets also killed the police officer's brother and wounded the brother's wife, the official said. The police officer was not home at the time of the attack.

In the second attack, four police officers died after a roadside bomb targeting their patrol exploded about 3:50 a.m. in Tahrir Square in central Baquba, the official said. Nine police officers were wounded.

U.S. soldier convicted

A military jury said a U.S. Army interrogator committed negligent homicide when he put a sleeping bag over an Iraqi general's head and sat on his chest as the man suffocated. (Full story)

Jurors convicted Chief Warrant Officer Lewis Welshofer Jr. on Saturday during his trial at Fort Carson, Colorado. The jury spared Welshofer a murder conviction which could have sent him to prison for life, the Army said. Jurors also convicted Welshofer of negligent dereliction of duty.

Welshofer, 43, was accused of putting a sleeping bag over the head of Iraqi Maj. Gen. Abed Hamed Mowhoush, sitting on his chest and covering Mowhoush's mouth with his hand while interrogating him in November 2003.

Mowhoush was a major general in the former Iraqi Army's Air Defense branch and linked to former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

A surgeon initially said Mowhoush died of natural causes, but a death certificate released months later by the Pentagon called the death a homicide by asphyxia.

Jurors acquitted Welshofer of assault, the Army said.

He faces a dishonorable discharge and as long as three years and three months in prison. Sentencing was set for Monday.

CNN's Mohammed Tawfeeq and Shelby Lin contributed to this report.

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