Iraqi police said they had discovered at least 10 bodies in a religious court used by al-Sadr's group. Police said the discovery was evidence of summary executions by al-Sadr's forces, which used the court for punishing people outside Iraq's legal system. Police summoned reporters to visit the building, in an alley a block from the mosque.
Spokesmen for the al-Sadr group said the bodies were those of fighters and supporters killed during the fighting but not yet buried. Some journalists were kept from entering, but the stench of decaying flesh reached the alley outside the building. One reporter who went inside said he counted as many as 16 bodies.
To the north of the mosque, along the main commercial street into the Old City, almost every structure was damaged. Storefronts were charred and crumpled, roofs and ceilings caved in and some upper floors were missing entirely.
The Los Angeles Times is a Tribune Publishing newspaper.
Killed in Iraq
As of yesterday, 968 U.S. service members have died since the beginning of military operations. Since May 1, 2003, when President Bush declared that major combat operations in Iraq had ended, 830 U.S. soldiers have died.
Army Spc. Charles L. Neeley, 19, Mattoon, Ill.; died Wednesday in Tikrit, Iraq, when his tractor-trailer rolled over; assigned to the Army Reserves 454th Transportation Company; Columbus, Ohio.
Army Staff Sgt. Donald N. Davis, 42, Saginaw, Mich.; died Tuesday in Fallujah, Iraq, when a tractor and a tanker trailer rolled over an embankment; assigned to the U.S. Army Reserve's 660th Transportation Company; Zanesville, Ohio.