'Death squad targeting Sunnis' in Iraqi ministry

THE United States military said yesterday it had uncovered a death squad operating from Iraq's Shiite-run interior ministry and targeting Sunni Muslims.

Major General Rick Lynch said four traffic policemen were being held at the US-run Abu Ghraib jail over the allegation and that the interior ministry was investigating in conjunction with the US military.

"As we understand it, there were 22 individuals all told and they were members of the Iraqi highway patrol and at the point of the event they were dressed as Iraqi highway patrolmen," he said.

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"Only four of those individuals were planning to conduct a kidnapping and subsequent murder of a Sunni individual, only four of them, and those four are now at Abu Ghraib."

The interior ministry was not available for comment. The incident, if confirmed, adds to a growing body of evidence against Iraq's Shiite-run security forces, which have been the focus of complaints by the Sunni Arab minority for months.