BAGHDAD, Iraq – Faces covered against the stench, Iraqis dug for loved ones among the hundreds suspected executed and buried at a notorious prison in the bloody last days of Saddam Hussein's regime.
Working with spades, families and friends at the Abu Ghraib prison found two bodies Tuesday that had been buried face down in shallow graves, their hands bound behind their backs.
"At least now we know they are dead, thanks be to God," said Saad al-Niami, an army colonel, who found at least one of six missing men from his neighborhood. "Our families can get rest now."
The victim, and one other found Tuesday, had been shot in the back of the head.
Saddam's secret services used the prison as a detention center, said Gen. Hossam Hussein, commander of guards there. Built for 800 prisoners, it held 1,200, Hussein said.
Relatives said it also served as a killing ground for countless men rounded up by Saddam's dying regime.
"They took everybody they thought was against them," al-Niami said. "They took them in the war, at the beginning, because they thought they had something to do against the government. They took many during the war."
Searching for four other missing friends, the men dug up spot after spot at the prison grounds. At one site, they found a shoe. At another, human teeth.
The men they sought had been rounded up at a mosque last month. Their friends said they had heard of executions at the prison, and believed the men had died.
Mothers were digging desperately at the prison as well -- one, Ahmed Amin, was looking for three brothers missing after being arrested by Saddam's enforcers.