Iraqis Release Details of Soldier Murders
American Forces Press Service
WASHINGTON, Oct. 25, 2004 The Iraqi government released details today on the Oct. 23 murders of 49 unarmed Iraqi soldiers on leave to visit their families.
The soldiers were traveling on the road between Karkush and Jassan, in eastern Iraq, when members of a terrorist group attacked them. Three civilian drivers also were killed, and three vehicles were burned, Iraqi officials said.
Followers of terrorist leader Abu Musab al-Zarqawi claimed responsibility for the attack, according to news reports. Terrorists disguised as Iraqi police stopped buses carrying the soldiers, who were headed home after finishing basic training. The soldiers were ordered off the buses, then executed.
"These coward and treachery actions will not stop our fighters of the courageous army from carrying on to purify the soil of Iraq from the criminal and terrorism groups," said an Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesman in a statement.
"As we condemn this criminal action, we promise our patient people to make the criminal terrorists get the fair punishment for their crimes against our people and against the sacredness of Islam and Muslims," the official said.
The attack came during the religious holy month of Ramadan, which began Oct. 15.