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. Last Updated: 07/27/2016

Grim Discoveries in Iraq Amid Surge of Violence

BAGHDAD, Iraq -- The bodies of more than 50 people have been recovered from the Tigris River and have been identified, Iraqi President Jalal Talabani said Wednesday. The bodies were believed to have been those of hostages seized in the Madain region earlier this month.

In a separate discovery, another 19 Iraqis were shot to death and left lined up against a bloodstained wall in a soccer stadium in the town of Haditha, about 220 kilometers northwest of Baghdad, an Iraqi reporter and residents said.

At a news briefing, Talabani said more than 50 bodies were pulled from the Tigris. "We have the full names of those who were killed and ... who committed these crimes," he said.

In Haditha, Rauf Salih and Ousama Halim, both taxi drivers, said they heard gunshots and rushed to the stadium. They were among a crowd gathered in front of the 19 bullet-riddled bodies.

Residents said they believed the victims -- all men in civilian clothes -- were soldiers abducted by insurgents as they headed home for the holiday Thursday marking the birthday of the prophet Muhammad.

The grisly discovery came as militants unleashed a string of attacks, including three suicide bombings in quick succession in Baghdad's bloodied streets, that killed seven Iraqis.

The first car bomb exploded near a U.S. convoy in an area of western Baghdad where the notorious Abu Ghraib prison is located, setting an oil tanker on fire, said police Major Moussa Abdulkarim. Two Iraqis were killed and five wounded, said Hussam Abdulrazaq, an official at the nearby al-Yarmouk Hospital.

The two other car bombs exploded in southern Baghdad. One missed a police convoy but hit a civilian car, killing two Iraqis and wounding four, said police Captain Falah al-Muhamadwai. The other exploded in a car park near Bilat al-Shuhada police station in Dora area, wounding four civilians, said police Lieutenant Hassan Falah.

In Sadr city, a poor section of eastern Baghdad, gunmen in a speeding car fired on policeman Ali Talib as he walked toward his car, killing him, said Colonel Hussein Abdulwahid of the local police force. In another part of east Baghdad, gunmen attacked a Health Ministry car, killing the driver and wounding one unidentified passenger, said police Colonel Hassan Jaloub.

Al-Qaida in Iraq, the nation's most feared terror group, claimed responsibility for Tuesday's worst attack, a suicide bombing near an army recruitment center in Baghdad that police said killed at least six Iraqis and wounded 44.

Also Tuesday, a Shiite legislator, Fattah al-Sheik, tearfully told parliament he had been handcuffed and humiliated at a U.S. checkpoint on his way to work. He claimed an American soldier kicked his car, mocked the legislature, handcuffed him and held him by the neck. The assembly demanded a U.S. apology and prosecution of the soldier involved.

On his way home after the session, gunmen fired on al-Sheik's convoy, but he escaped unharmed, police said.