BAGHDAD, Iraq – The bodies of at least 12 people who had been shot and killed were found buried at a garbage dump on the outskirts of Baghdad (search) on Friday, Iraqi officials said.
Some of the victims were blindfolded and had been shot in the head execution-style, said Bassim al-Maslokhi, a soldier who was guarding the area during the recovery.
Authorities kept journalists at a distance. But an Associated Press photographer saw U.S. military, Iraqi police and soldiers at the dump in Kasra Waatash (search), on the northeastern edge of the capital, along with three ambulances.
There were conflicting accounts of the number of bodies found. Al-Maslokhi said 14 bodies were found. Kadhim al-Itabi, a local police chief, put the number at 12.
Al-Itabi confirmed they had been shot. The bodies were being transferred to the central morgue in Baghdad, said Mazin Fadhid, a policeman at the same station.
Fadhid said most of the victims appeared to be young men. Some were dressed in traditional white robes, others were in pants and shirts, and at least one was wearing a traffic officer's uniform, he said.
Master Sgt. Greg Kaufman, a U.S. military spokesman, referred questions to Iraqi authorities.
Police were called to the scene by scavengers who found some of the bodies while searching for scrap metal and other items to sell, al-Maslokhi said.
Police found the dead, believed to be Iraqis, in shallow graves at the dump, said al-Maslokhi, adding that they seemed to have been killed recently. He said police were still digging at the site.