Six Off-Duty Iraqi Soldiers Executed in Northern Iraq

Six off-duty Iraqi soldiers were captured and shot execution-style outside a restaurant in northern Iraq, Iraq police Friday said, while a baker was gunned down and four bodies were found.

The soldiers were just leaving the restaurant after lunch there when they were seized by a group of unidentified gunmen waiting outside, said police Capt. Arkan Ali. The captives were taken to a nearby street, lined up and shot to death, Ali said.

The attack occurred in the industrial city of Beiji, where the soldiers had stopped en route to their military base in Mosul, 90 miles to the north.

In Baghdad, a Shiite baker was killed in a drive-by shooting as he headed to work, and the bullet-riddled bodies of four other Iraqis were found in the capital. The killings occurred in two areas of Baghdad with mixed populations of Shiites and Sunni Arabs.

The baker, Nadil Adel Ashor, was killed outside his home by unidentified gunmen in a speeding car in Dora, southern Baghdad, said police 1st Lt. Maitham Abdul-Razzaq. On Thursday, armed men broke into another bakery in Dora and killed two Shiite workers.

Iraqi police found four bullet-riddled bodies in three different Sunni-Shiite districts of the capital: one in Dora, one in Mansour in western Baghdad and two in Rustomia in the eastern part of the city. Police said the identities of the victims and the motives behind the killings were not immediately known.

A roadside bomb aimed at a U.S. military patrol exploded Friday morning in Dora, missing its target but wounding two Iraqi civilians who were driving nearby, said Abdul-Razzaq. A U.S. Army official confirmed that the attack had missed the American soldiers.

Three Iraqi policemen also were wounded by a roadside bomb that hit their patrol Friday in Baghdad's western neighborhood of Yarmouk, said Abdul-Razzaq. When police and witnesses rushed to the scene, a second bomb exploded, an Associated Press photographer said.

Sectarian tensions have been running high in Iraq since the Feb. 22 bombing of a Shiite shrine in Samarra, 60 miles north of Baghdad, and the reprisal attacks against Sunni mosques and clerics that followed.