al-Qaida Video Shows Police Execution
By RAWYA RAGEH
BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) - Al-Qaida's arm in Iraq released a video Saturday showing its militants lining up five captured Iraqi security officers and executing them in the street, one of a string of recent attacks claimed by the group led by terror boss Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
A statement posted on an Islamist Web site along with the video denounced the five men as "American dogs," and the group warned other Iraqis they would meet the same fate if they join the security forces loyal to the government of Prime Minister Ayad Allawi, seen as collaborators with the U.S. military.
In the video, one of the prisoners identified himself as Lt. Bashar Latif Jassim and said his mission was to "prevent terrorists from entering Iraq."
When asked by one his captors - who did not appear on camera - who the terrorists are, Jassim said: "Those who sabotage the country."
The five prisoners - apparently captured in the insurgent hotbed of Ramadi, west of Baghdad - were shown sitting on the ground with five masked gunmen behind them, one reading a statement. A banner carrying the name of al-Zarqawi's group, al-Qaida in Iraq, hung in the background.
"Here is another bunch of apostates in the land of Iraq, another group of the doomed soldiers who came to the blessed jihad land of Ramadi to support the apostate Allawi government and help the unjust American enemy," said the man reading the statement.
"As usual, jihadists have no mercy when it comes to such infidel souls," he said.
The video then showed the five men lined up, their hands bound behind their back, and shot in a street in broad daylight. The militants repeatedly shot the men even after they fell to the ground.
People and cars are visible in the video, passing by during the shooting, and some even stop to watch. It is not clear, however, where the executions took place. One of the masked shooters left a paper, apparently a statement, on the back of one of the bodies.
In a separate written statement posted on the Web Saturday, al-Qaida also claimed responsibility for a number of attacks targeting security forces around Iraq earlier this week.
In one of the bloodiest days in recent months, militants killed some 20 policemen on Tuesday in attacks in various Iraqi provinces. The bloodiest attacks occurred in the northern city of Tikrit where 18 policemen died.
The group also said it was behind an attack on American post in Samarra the same day. The U.S. military had said three militants were killed in that operation, but al-Qaida claimed that two were only injured.
The statement said al-Qaida in Iraq was behind the attacks, which is said were part of a larger operation called "Killing the mercenary dogs."
Rebels have launched numerous strikes against police and National Guard posts in an attempt to cause desertions from the security forces, which are considered by militants to be American collaborators.