Al Qaeda's arm in Iraq posted a video Sunday showing armed men shooting an Iraqi Interior Ministry official held hostage. The video, posted on the group's website, showed a man identifying himself as Col. Ryadh Katie Olyway seated between two masked men wearing black. He displayed his Interior Ministry identification card and said he was a liaison officer with the American forces.
Olyway, dressed in a brown shirt and jacket and beige pants, said he provided the U.S. military with the names "of officers of the former Iraqi army, who are Sunnis, and their addresses."
Behind the men was the black banner of al Qaeda in Iraq, the group led by the Jordanian Abu Musab al-Zarqawi.
The hostage also said female Iraqis held prisoner by occupation forces were tortured. Al Qaeda in Iraq has said many of its latest killings were in revenge for female Iraqi prisoners; the American military denies it is holding any Iraqi women.
A third masked man was then shown behind Olyway, reading from a statement that "the legal committee of the al Qaeda in Iraq decided to kill this apostate."
Olyway was then shown blindfolded, and the man shot him once in the head.
Meanwhile, seven gunmen were killed and 16 others were arrested Sunday in wide-scale search operations executed by Iraqi and US forces south of Baghdad. Iraqi spokesperson told reporters that a blast and search operations took place in Haswa, Iskandaria, Msayyab and other areas in northern Babylon Province with the support of US helicopters. The source added that US and Iraqi forces clashed with gunmen, while US helicopter gunships demolished three houses used by gunmen to fire at the US and Iraqi forces.
A roadside bomb hit an Iraqi police patrol Sunday in a southern city and armed men opened fire on a coffeeshop in the north, leaving at least one dead and injuring four others.
Elsewhere, security officials opened fire on a crowd of protesters Sunday, killing one. Bodyguards for Science and Technology Minister Rashad Mandan Omar opened fire on a crowd of protesters who had gathered in front of the ministry's offices to demand their full wages, said Hamid Balasem, an engineer at the ministry.
According to The AP, Balasem said about 50 ministry guards were demonstrating because they said they were paid only part of their wages. It was unclear why the guards opened fire.
The U.S. military said an unmanned aerial vehicle crashed early Sunday near Balad, 50 miles north of Baghdad. The cause was under investigation.
© 2005 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )