BAGHDAD, Iraq (AP) – The bodies of 14 policemen were found Friday northeast of Baghdad after an al-Qaida-affilated Sunni group said it abducted members of a government security force in retaliation for the alleged rape of a Sunni woman by members of the Shiite-dominated police.

Brig. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf, an Interior Ministry spokesman, said the bodies were discovered Friday afternoon in Diyala province. The policemen were kidnapped Thursday on their way to their homes in Diyala for leave, he said.

Earlier Friday, the Islamic State of Iraq said in a Web statement that it seized 18 Interior Ministry employees in Diyala in retaliation for “the crimes carried out … against the Sunnis,” including the alleged rape last month of a Sunni woman by policemen in Baghdad.

In a second statement, the group announced that its “court” had ordered the “execution” of the men and that a video depicting their deaths would be posted later, according to the SITE Institute, which monitors extremist Web sites.

Photos accompanied the claim, showing up to 18 blindfolded men, seven of them wearing Iraqi military uniforms. All had their hands tied behind their backs.

But Khalaf cast doubt on whether the 14 slain policemen were the same men shown on the Web site photos.

“We found the 14 policemen’s bodies, but they are not those who are in the fabricated images on the Web site,” he said. “The Diyala police told us that they don’t know who those people shown on the Web site were.”

Nevertheless, he blamed al-Qaida for the killings and said Iraqi authorities would “chase those who assassinated these unarmed people.”

Also Friday, two U.S. soldiers and an interpreter were killed by a roadside bomb northwest of Baghdad as they were trying to clear a highway of explosives.

The military also announced that a U.S. Marine was killed two days before in combat in Anbar province, a Sunni insurgent area west of the capital.

The Islamic State of Iraq had threatened to kill the hostages within 24 hours if the Iraqi government did not hand over officers accused in the rape case, and release all Sunni women held in Iraqi prisons.

“This blessed operation is a response to crimes carried out by those infidels in their fight against the Sunnis,” the statement said. “The latest of the crimes committed by these traitors was to rape our sister in religion.”

A 20-year-old woman told Arab television stations that she was detained in a Sunni area of west Baghdad on Feb. 18, taken to a police garrison and assaulted by three officers. The woman gave a name which identified her as Sunni.

Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, a Shiite, announced an investigation Feb. 19 but cleared the officers the following day, stirring outrage among Sunni politicians.

Al-Maliki said the rape claim was fabricated to tarnish the reputation of the police and the ongoing security crackdown in Baghdad.

Friday’s statement from the Islamic State of Iraq referred to the rape victim by her name and identified her as Sunni.

However, officials of the Iraqi Islamic Party, the country’s largest Sunni group, said the woman used a false name and that she is in fact a Shiite. The party’s human rights office had been looking into the case.

Names of the officers involved in the case were not released, and it was unknown whether they were Sunni or Shiite.

In Baghdad, two car bombs killed at least 11 people in attacks Friday. The deadlier occurred at a used car lot near the Shiite militia stronghold of Sadr City, killing 10 people, wounding 17 and setting several cars ablaze, police said.

The other blast was near a police patrol in southwest Baghdad, killing a policeman and wounding two civilians, police reported.

The U.S. military also said Friday that eight suspected militants were killed a day earlier in a raid in Salman Pak, a town just southeast of Baghdad where Sunni and Shiite extremists have frequently clashed.

U.S. forces came under small-arms and mortar fire, and killed three armed men moving toward them, the statement said. Twenty minutes later, troops were fired on again and shot dead four suspects. Another man was killed in a vehicle nearby, the statement said.

Sniper rifles, AK-47s and rocket-propelled grenade launchers were removed from the scene, it added.

In Fallujah, 45 miles west of Baghdad, residents reported finding handbills warning local tribes to abandon checkpoints they had established to detain members of al-Qaida. The handbills said al-Qaida would retaliate if they checkpoints remain.

The warning followed reports by Iraqi police of clashes between al-Qaida members and local residents opposed to the extremist group.

A roadside bomb exploded near an Iraqi army patrol 150 miles southeast of Baghdad, killing one soldier, police said.

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