10/25/2004, 00.00
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Terrorists executed 49 army recruits

Lebanese boy kidnapped: US$ 150,000 for his release.

Baquba (AsiaNews/Agencies) – A website used by militants published a statement attributed to the group led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi in which it claimed to have carried out the Sunday army recruits massacre. Al-Zarqawi said they had killed "apostates". At least 49 Iraqi army recruits and their civilian driver were gunned down in a bloody ambush northeast of Baghdad, one of the deadliest attacks against the country's fledgling security forces.

Lieutenant Ali Jawad Kadhim, of the nearby Mandali police station, said all the victims had been shot in the back of the head and had their hands crossed behind their head.

The bodies were discovered on a road near Baquba, 60km from the capital, in an area that has been the scene of frequent attacks against Iraq's security forces. The victims had been returning home after a 20-day training course at a desert camp close to the Iranian border.

The slaughter of the recruits, who were in civilian clothing, followed twin suicide car bombings against police and the Iraqi National Guard on Saturday that killed at least 20 people.

Meanwhile, a seven-year-old Lebanese boy has been kidnapped on his way home from school in Diyala province, with captors demanding a US$ 150,000 ransom. It is believed to be the first case of a foreign child being kidnapped in Iraq.

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