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Iraqi militants say 20 security force members 'detained'

Story Highlights

• Islamic State of Iraq wants Sunni women released, alleged rapists turned over
• Militants say they'll kill detainees in two days if demands aren't met
• Action is in response to rape report that has intensified Sunni-Shiite tension
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BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Iraqi militants claim to have "detained" 20 Iraqi security force members in response to an alleged rape that has heightened Sunni-Shiite tensions.

The militants say they will kill the detainees in two days if security forces don't free all detained Sunni women and hand over people responsible for the alleged rape.

The message -- posted on a militant Web site Saturday -- was signed by the Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella insurgent group that includes al Qaeda in Iraq. That same group claimed responsibility for the suicide attack on Iraq's parliament on Thursday.

The Interior Ministry is looking into the report, which CNN could not verify.

The claim said the 20 men -- of various ranks -- are from the defense and interior ministries and hail from northeast of Baghdad.

The site shows rows of blindfolded men, most of them in blue or brown uniforms, in front of the group's black banner. Their hands appeared to be bound behind their backs.

"With God's help, a brave group belonging to the Islamic State of Iraq detained" the people, and the group said it "gives the infidel government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki 48 hours to comply with its demands or God's judgment shall be carried out against them," the statement said.

"The conditions of releasing the apostates" are releasing all Sunni women held in Iraqi prisons and handing over all Iraqi Interior Ministry members accused of involvement in the rape of a Sunni woman. It also wants handed over those officers who "killed and displaced our people in Tal Afar" and were "involved in raping other Sunni women."

Last month, truck bombs killed scores of people in Shiite districts in Tal Afar, in northern Iraq. That prompted reprisal killings of Sunnis. The woman appeared in February on Al-Jazeera alleging she was raped by three members of the security forces. She said the rape occurred at a police facility after she was seized in a Baghdad raid, allegedly for helping Sunni insurgents.

Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's Shiite-dominated government said a medical examination disproved the woman's allegations.

The U.S. military last month called on Iraqi leaders, Sunni and Shiite, to condemn the kidnapping and killing of 15 Iraqi police officers in retaliation for the alleged rape.

Al-Maliki's office confirmed that a video posted by the Islamic State of Iraq showed the execution of the police officers.

Shiite government leaders, including al-Maliki, say the rape allegation was fabricated and is undermining the government's effort to target all insurgents, regardless of their ethnic or religious affiliation.

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• Interactive: Who's who in Iraq
• Interactive: Sectarian divide
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