Wednesday May 18, 201103:22 AM GMT
Mass grave unearthed in western Iraq
Wed May 18, 2011 3:23AM
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A man excavates a newly-discovered mass grave in the desert of western Anbar province in Iraq, April 14, 2011.
Iraqi officials have discovered the bodies of 21 people in a mass grave in the city of Fallujah in the western Iraqi province of Anbar.

The people were reportedly killed in a firefight between Iraqi insurgents and US forces in 2004 in Fallujah, AFP reported on Tuesday.

The mass grave was unearthed in al-Maadhidi cemetery in the centre of the city during a funeral ceremony.

"The bodies were found in body-bags with Latin letters and numbers on them," said Fallujah police chief Brigadier General Mahmud al-Essawi, adding "they were blindfolded, their legs were tied and they had suffered gunshot wounds."

According to the mayor of Fallujah, Adnan Hussein, the manner in which the dead were buried proves they were killed by US forces.

The grave site is now under investigation.

Earlier in February, Iraqi security forces discovered a mass grave in Diyala Province with more than 150 bodies killed during the US-led occupation of Iraq.

Iraq continues to wrestle with violence in the ninth year of the United States' military occupation of the country, despite the presence of tens of thousands of US-led troops.

Over one million Iraqis have died during the occupation, according to the California-based media research group Project Censored.

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