The bodies of about 50 Iraqi soldiers were found on a remote road in eastern Iraq (news - web sites), apparently the victims of an ambush as they were heading home on leave, Iraqi authorities said Sunday. Also, a State Department security officer was killed during a mortar or rocket attack at a U.S. base near the Baghdad airport.
An Associated Press reporter on the scene reported seeing the burned frames of two minibuses. Blood stains were visible on the ground, along with human remains. Witnesses said the attackers stole some buses. Police said they had found 51 bodies from the attack place.
It was the second deadly attack of the day on Iraqi authorities. On Saturday, suicide bombers struck Iraqi security targets north and west of Baghdad, killing 22 Iraqis, officials said. Also, six U.S. soldiers were wounded in an ambush on the road to Baghdad airport — one of the country's most dangerous routes.
The State Department agent killed was identified by the U.S. Embassy as Ed Seitz, who worked for the department's Bureau of Diplomatic Security. He was killed about 5 a.m. at Camp Victory, embassy spokesman Bob Callahan said. Camp Victory is the headquarters of the U.S.-led coalition's ground forces command.
A videotape posted Saturday on Islamic Web sites showed Iraqi militants claiming to have beheaded a man who said he worked for the U.S. military in the northern city of Mosul for the past year. The man, who identified himself as Seif Adnan Kanaan, said he fixed vehicles and delivered beverages to U.S. forces based at Mosul airport.
The killing was claimed by the Ansar al-Sunnah Army, which claims to have killed at least 14 other hostages.
Also Saturday, the husband of the kidnapped director of CARE International's operations in Iraq appealed for her release. Margaret Hassan, 59, who has British, Irish and Iraqi citizenship, was seized Tuesday in western Baghdad. On Friday, she made an emotional televised plea to British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) to save her life by withdrawing his country's troops from Iraq.
On Saturday, her Iraqi husband, Tahseen Ali Hassan, begged for the kidnappers to free her "in the name of Islam."
"It hurts to watch my wife cry," Tahseen Hassan said on Al-Arabiya television. "This scene has saddened and worried her friends and loved ones. I plead with you, in the name of Islam and Arabism — while we are in the most sacred Islamic month — that my wife and beloved return to me."
The secretary-general of CARE International made his own appeal Saturday.
"She is a naturalized Iraqi citizen and always holds the people of Iraq in her heart," Denis Caillaux said. "CARE joins with many of the people whose lives Mrs. Hassan has touched over her decades of service in Iraq in reaching out to her captors to appeal to their humanity."
Militants have kidnapped at least seven other foreign women over the past six months, and all were released. By contrast, at least 33 foreign male hostages have been killed, including three Americans beheaded by their captors.
Ever more catastrophic successes.