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Iraq Transition

Web claim: 20 Iraq security forces executed

Story Highlights

• Insurgents kill 20 members of security forces, according to unverified claim
• U.S. military retracts statement that failed vehicle bomb involved nitric acid
• Gunmen shoot dead Baghdad University professor
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Insurgents executed 20 members of Iraq's security forces who were seized last week, according to a claim posted on the Internet on Tuesday.

The Islamic State of Iraq -- an umbrella group of Sunni extremists that includes al Qaeda in Iraq -- claims it carried out the executions.

The authenticity of the claim has not been verified.

The Islamic State of Iraq has claimed responsibility for the bombing of the parliament building last week in Baghdad's Green Zone in which a legislator was killed.

A claim was found on the Web on Saturday that militants seized 20 security forces northeast of Baghdad. It is thought that the people were in Diyala province, but the name of the region was not mentioned.

The people, whose pictures were posted on the Web, were said to be from the interior and defense ministries and had various ranks. The site shows rows of blindfolded men, most of them in either blue or brown uniforms, in front of the group's black banner. Their hands appeared to be bound behind their backs.

The Islamic State of Iraq indicated that it would kill the officers in 48 hours if Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's government did not comply with certain demands.

They include the release of Sunni women held in Iraqi prisons, the handing over of Interior Ministry members accused in the involvement of a rape, and the handing over of officers who "killed and displaced our people in Tal Afar" and were "involved in raping other Sunni women."

The Interior Ministry is looking into the report. There is no way for CNN to verify the authenticity of the claim, and when the people were apparently abducted.

The latest Islamic State of Iraq's statement said "after the deadline the ISI gave the infidel government of Maliki has passed," they decided to kill the captives.

The claim also says that they will provide a video soon.

The voice believed to be from the head of the Islamic State of Iraq, Abu Omar al-Baghdad -- showed up on the Web on Tuesday.

The speaker made a number of points, particularly highlight the contention that Sunni fighters are prevailing over the U.S.-led forces after four years of war in Iraq.

Academics targeted

Gunmen on Tuesday shot and killed a Baghdad University professor in the capital's southwestern neighborhood of Saydiya, police told CNN.

The professor had been headed to his workplace when he was killed, police said.

The shooting comes as U.S. and Iraqi troops attempt to enforce a crackdown in the capital. Several academics have been targeted by insurgents during the Iraq war.

There were other reported incidents across Iraq.

The U.S. military also said that eight people were detained Tuesday in raids near Baghdad and Falluja.

Two people in Baghdad are "suspected of providing and transporting" car bomb material. Six people in Karma, near Falluja, were held "for suspected ties to the al Qaeda terrorist network."

The U.S. military said Tuesday that a Marine assigned to Multi National Force-West died on Monday "while conducting combat operations" in Iraq's Anbar province. The incident has been classified as non-hostile incident. This brings the number of U.S. military deaths to 3,311.

The military also corrected its earlier release that said nitric acid was used in an attempted vehicle bombing in Mushada on Monday.

Initial fears that a truck that overturned while attempting to deliver its payload of explosives was carrying acid were unfounded, the military said. In fact it was carrying gasoline. Explosives were also found, the military said.

The driver told soldiers he had been paid $30,000 to launch the attack, the military said.

CNN's Octavia Nasr and Mohammed Tawfeeq contributed to this report.


• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide


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