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Gunmen kill 56 in grisly Iraq hostage siege

[ 2011-03-31 10:39]     字号 [] [] []  
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Gunmen wearing military uniforms over explosives belts charged into a government building in Saddam Hussein's hometown in an attack that left 56 people dead, including 15 hostages who were shot execution-style.

The five-hour standoff in Tikrit on Tuesday ended only when the attackers blew themselves up in what was one of the bloodiest days in Iraq this year.

US troops who were nearby as part of an advising mission with Iraqi forces responded to the attack, and some US soldiers received minor wounds, said military spokesman Colonel Barry Johnson. The US troops dropped back after Iraqi forces took control, Johnson said.

A freelance journalist who worked for Reuters was among the dead.

Sabah al-Bazee, 30, who had contributed to Reuters in Iraq since 2004 and also worked as cameraman for several other media organizations, suffered shrapnel wounds in an explosion, said his cousin Mahmoud Salah, who confirmed his death.

"On behalf of the entire team at Thomson Reuters, I wish to convey our sadness at the untimely death of Sabah al-Bazee," said Reuters Editor-in-Chief Stephen Adler.

The assault was reminiscent of the bloodshed that was common during the worst days of the conflict as Iraq was pushed to the brink of civil war. Attacks have ebbed in recent years, but the looming deadline for the US troops to withdraw from the country along with political unrest in other countries have raised fears the nation could return to violence.

The standoff in Tikrit, the capital of Salahuddin province 130 kilometers north of Baghdad, began around 1 pm when the attackers blew up a car outside the council headquarters to create a diversion before launching their raid.

Wearing military uniforms - including one with a high rank - the gunmen identified themselves as Iraqi soldiers at a security checkpoint outside the government compound but opened fire on guards when they were told they needed to be searched.


1. How many people died in the attack?

2. How long was the standoff?

3. What city did the attack take place in?


1. 56.

2. Five hours.

3. Tikrit.


(中国日报网英语点津 Helen 编辑)

Gunmen kill 56 in grisly Iraq hostage siege

About the broadcaster:

Gunmen kill 56 in grisly Iraq hostage siege

Lee Hannon is Chief Editor at China Daily with 15-years experience in print and broadcast journalism. Born in England, Lee has traveled extensively around the world as a journalist including four years as a senior editor in Los Angeles. He now lives in Beijing and is happy to move to China and join the China Daily team.