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Admiral: Al Qaeda in Iraq 'killing off' former allies

  • Story Highlights
  • Admiral: Al Qaeda in Iraq targeting Sunnis who oppose government, U.S. presence
  • Documents found in torture chamber support coalition claims, analysts say
  • One document shows groups uniting against U.S., vowing not to attack civilians
  • Officials: U.S. has paid Sunnis and some Shiites $148 million to help fight militants
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BALAD, Iraq (CNN) -- Video provided to CNN shows an al Qaeda in Iraq firing squad executing one-time allies -- fellow Sunni extremists -- who were not loyal enough to the terror organization, coalition military analysts said.

Analysts say the video shows al Qaeda in Iraq operatives executing nine Sunni men deemed disloyal.

In the video provided by coalition military officials, armed men wearing masks are shown standing behind nine kneeling men, all of whom are wearing blindfolds or hoods with their hands presumably tied behind their backs. The video shows the men being executed.

"Al Qaeda in Iraq, which is foreign led and foreign dominated here inside Iraq, is killing off other Sunni groups that are certainly not supportive of the government of Iraq, currently, or of the foreign occupation, but are not sharing the same ideology that al Qaeda in Iraq has," Rear Adm. Gregory Smith said.

The video was recovered late last year during a raid on a compound near Samarra that was being used for killing and torture, a coalition official said.

A number of documents -- some found in the same raid -- bolster the coalition notion that al Qaeda in Iraq is waging a violent campaign against its former allies, intelligence analysts said. Video Watch how the documents could aid coalition forces »

Samarra is the site of a February 2006 attack on al-Askariya Mosque, revered by Shiites. The attack set off a wave of sectarian violence between Shiites and Sunnis, who were suspected of perpetrating the attack. The northern Iraqi city lies in Salaheddin province, one of four provinces where coalition forces have beefed up operations against Sunni militants.

Coalition officials say the documents are indicative of a deep rift among the militant groups fighting coalition forces. Al Qaeda in Iraq "would like nothing more than to aggravate the situation," Smith said last week.

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Al Qaeda in Iraq has a history of documenting its actions, the analysts said.

One document found in the Samarra raid shows the execution of a woman believed to have helped Iraqi police. Another describes the murders of 12 men who al Qaeda in Iraq felt were not sufficiently loyal.

In another document, al Qaeda in Iraq criticizes jihadist groups that it says are following "a false path," according to the analysts.

The analysts said one document also describes the stance of six Sunni splinter groups being targeted by al Qaeda in Iraq. The document, signed by leaders of the groups, outlines their opposition to the U.S. presence in Iraq but includes a pledge to avoid attacks on civilians.

Coalition officials said the documents and video may reflect a move toward reconciliation among some Sunni factions.


In recent months, the U.S. has paid Sunnis and some Shiites $148 million to help fight extremists, military officials said. These groups have taken on many monikers, including Awakening Councils, Concerned Local Citizens and Sons of Iraq.

Coalition officials said they are trying to determine whether the documents found last year are a reason to expand efforts to bring more Sunnis into the fight against al Qaeda in Iraq. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

CNN's Barbara Starr contributed to this report.

All About Al Qaeda in IraqSamarraIraq War

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