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Iraq Transition

Video claims to show Iraq security officers' executions

Story Highlights

NEW: Parliament members petition for say on foreign troops' presence
NEW: Suicide car bomb hits U.S. convoy in central Baghdad
• Online posting says al Qaeda in Iraq-linked group killed security officers
• Dick Cheney tells soldiers extended tours are vital to U.S. mission in Iraq
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Nine Iraqi security officers were blindfolded and shot execution-style as they kneeled on the ground, according to an online video purportedly posted by an insurgent group linked to al Qaeda in Iraq.

Islamic State of Iraq, the umbrella group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq, issued a Web message Thursday saying it had executed the officers.

The video shows the men -- whom militants were said to have captured in Diyala province -- being shot one by one in the back of the head.

In a voiceover, a speaker said to be Abu Hamza al-Muhajer, the head of al Qaeda in Iraq, says the men were traitors and deserved to die. Al-Muhajer is also known as Abu Ayyub al-Masri and is identified as the Islamic State of Iraq's minister of war.

The authenticity of the claims could not be verified.

An online message Monday said the Islamic State of Iraq would kill the men in 72 hours if its demands weren't met.

The group said it wanted Sunni women released from Interior Ministry prisons and handovers of officers who committed a notorious rape as well as officers who participated in displacing people and raping women in Tal Afar.

That northern Iraqi city was the site of deadly sectarian violence in March when Sunni militants killed 152 Shiites in a suicide truck bombing. About 70 Sunnis died in reprisal killings the next day.

Last month, the Islamic State of Iraq claimed responsibility for the execution of 20 Iraqi security force members northeast of Baghdad. Those killings also were documented in an online video.

Cheney spends night in Iraq before more Mideast stops

Vice President Dick Cheney visited U.S. troops Thursday in Iraq's Salaheddin province after a sleepover outside Tikrit, making him the highest-ranking U.S. official to spend the night in the country since the war began.

Cheney exchanged chitchat with soldiers at breakfast Thursday morning. (Watch how Cheney's message is designed to increase pressure on Iraqi leaders Video)

Later, he attended a rally where he acknowledged the hardships endured by troops and their families, and he thanked them for their service.

"Many of you have had your deployments extended," Cheney said. "I want you to know the extension is vital to the mission. The Army and the country appreciate the extra burden you carry."

Cheney then held classified briefings with U.S. commanders before lunching with Gen. David Petraeus, the top U.S. commander in Iraq.

Cheney's unannounced stopover in the war-ravaged nation kicks off a weeklong tour during which he will meet with leaders in the United Arab Emirates, Egypt, Jordan and Saudi Arabia.

Cheney met Wednesday in Baghdad with Sunni Arab Vice President Tariq al-Hashimi and Shiite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki as well as Kurdish President Jalal Talabani, government ministers and U.S. Ambassador Ryan Crocker.

A senior Bush administration official said the purpose of Cheney's visit to Baghdad was to tell the Iraqi government, "It's game time." (Watch what Cheney means when he says it's "game time" Video)

Parliament members want say on foreign troops

Members of anti-American faction in Iraq's parliament want to have a say on the U.S.-led presence in Iraq.

Lawmakers from Shiite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr's bloc are circulating a petition to have the body vote on the presence of foreign troops in the war-wracked country.

Currently, any extension of the U.N. mandate for Multi-National Forces-Iraq goes directly to the Cabinet. The U.N. mandate comes up for review June 15.

Al-Sadr is virulently anti-American and wants U.S. troops to depart Iraq. However, other parliament members don't think the parliamentary effort would succeed in ousting U.S. troops.

U.S.: Raids net terror suspects

U.S.-led forces battled suspected members of a terrorist cell in Baghdad's Sadr City on Thursday morning, according to a military statement.

Coalition forces came under fire during a pre-dawn raid in the densely populated Shiite neighborhood and had to call in air support as fighting became more fierce, the military said.

Three suspected terrorists were killed, three civilians were wounded and four suspects were arrested, the statement said. Iraq's Interior Ministry, however, reported that eight civilians were killed and nine were wounded.

The alleged terrorists are suspected of transporting weapons and armor-piercing bombs -- or EFPs -- from Iran to Iraq, and transporting militants from Iraq to Iran for training, the military said. (Watch how EFP attacks are on the rise Video)

Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammed Ali Husseini said in a faxed statement that allegations the Sunni insurgency is using weapons from Iran are "baseless and false."

In a separate set of raids Thursday in Anbar province, coalition forces targeted a "chemical bomb network" and arrested two more suspected terrorists, the military said.

Other developments

Police found 20 bullet-riddled bodies across Baghdad on Thursday, the Interior Ministry said. The number of corpses found slain in the war-torn city this month stands at 219.

A suicide car bomb struck a U.S. military convoy in central Baghdad on Thursday, the Iraqi Interior Ministry said. U.S. soldiers sealed off the area, and there were no details about injuries.

A parked motorcycle detonated Thursday near an outdoor market in southeast Baghdad. Two people were killed and four were wounded, the Interior Ministry said.

A U.S. Marine was killed Wednesday during combat in the Sunni-dominated Anbar province, the military said. Thirty U.S. military personnel have been killed in May, bringing the total for the Iraq war to 3,374. Seven civilian Defense Department contractors also have been killed.

Iraq's parliament session ended abruptly Thursday when bickering and chaos erupted after a parliamentary delegation read a graphic report describing displaced Shiite families who fled their homes in Diyala province for Karbala.

Iraqi soldiers killed a militant and wounded another Wednesday during a fight with insurgents who apparently were planning to attack a hospital in Baghdad's Adhamiya district, the U.S. military said Thursday.

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