56 Killed in Iraq Hostage Siege

Gunmen in military uniform seize Tikrit government building
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 29, 2011 10:42 PM CDT
Smoke rises from government buildings in Tikrit after the attack which killed 56 people and wounded 98 more.   (YouTube)

(Newser) – Gunmen wearing military uniforms over explosives belts charged into a government building in Saddam Hussein's hometown Tuesday in an attack that left 56 people dead, including 15 hostages who were shot execution-style. The five-hour standoff in Tikrit ended only when the attackers blew themselves up. American troops who were nearby as part of an advising mission with Iraqi forces responded to the attack, and some US soldiers received minor wounds, a military spokesman says. The US troops dropped back after Iraqi forces took control.

The dead included three provincial councilmen and Iraqi journalist Sabah al-Bazi, a freelancer for CNN and Reuters. Iraqi officials were quick to blame al-Qaeda in Iraq for the slaughter, noting that execution-style killings and suicide bombers are hallmarks of the extremist group. Members of Iraq's parliament immediately called for an investigation into how the band of eight or nine insurgents could pull off the attack and paralyze a mostly Sunni Muslim city that was once a hotbed for al-Qaeda in Iraq and Saddam sympathizers.

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