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Another Mass Grave Found in Iraq - 2003-05-17

Another mass grave site has been found in Iraq. An Iraqi group opposed to Saddam Hussein says as many as 600 Kuwaiti prisoners of war killed in 1991 could be buried there.

The stench of death hangs over the burial ground in the desert wasteland outside Habaniya, a lakeside resort, about 100 kilometers west of Baghdad.

Officials of the Iraqi National Congress, which opposed Saddam Hussein, says it has learned from eyewitnesses that up to 600 bodies were buried there in 1991.

The dead are believed to be Kuwaiti prisoners, captured after Iraq invaded Kuwait in August 1990. Entifad Qanbar is an INC spokesman. "We had a witness, an eyewitness, who was basically the driver, who brought the Kuwaiti POWs here, who informed us that in October 1991, the prisoners were brought here and executed and buried," he said.

Another INC official, Abdul Aziz Alkubaisi, says the former Iraqi army driver brought officials to the site, and about 40 bodies were exhumed on Friday. No identify papers have been found with the bodies.

Mr. Alkubaisi says the digging has stopped, and the INC is urging the Kuwaiti government to investigate the matter.

Mr. Alkubaisi says the driver and other witnesses are afraid to be identified in public, but he has spoken with them extensively. Mr. Alkubaisi explained what the witnesses say happened to the victims just before they were shot. "The Kuwaitis were shouting [there is] 'No God, but only Almighty God,' and some of them were crying," he said. "That's the best they could do when they were handcuffed and blindfolded."

Kuwait has long demanded an accounting of prisoners captured during the Iraqi occupation. The United Nations Security Council passed a resolution demanding the repatriation of Kuwaiti prisoners after Iraq was expelled from Kuwait in 1991.