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Militants post terrifying images of captured Iraqi soldiers

Some images appear to depict mass killings.

Image: AP Photo via militant website

AS THE IRAQI government bolstered Baghdad’s defenses Sunday, the Islamic militant group that captured two major cities last week posted graphic photos that appeared to show its fighters massacring dozens of captured Iraqi soldiers.

The pictures on a militant website appear to show masked fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, loading the captives onto flatbed trucks before forcing them to lie face-down in a shallow ditch with their arms tied behind their backs.

The final images show the bodies of the captives soaked in blood after being shot.

The images have been verified and is consistent with other Associated Press reporting.

The grisly images could further sharpen sectarian tensions as hundreds of Shiites heed a call from their most revered spiritual leader to take up arms against the Sunni militants who have swept across the north.

No images containing the killings have been included in the slideshow below.

Militants post terrifying images of captured Iraqi soldiers
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  • Images from militant website

    Source: AP Photo via militant website
  • Images from militant website

    Source: AP Photo via militant website
  • Images from militant website

    Source: AP Photo via militant website
  • Images from militant website

    Source: AP Photo via militant website
  • Mideast Iraq

    Source: AP Photo via militant website

ISIL has vowed to take the battle to Baghdad and cities further south housing revered Shiite shrines.

A car bomb meanwhile exploded in central Baghdad, killing 10 and wounding 21, according to police and hospital officials.

Baghdad has seen an escalation in suicide and car bombings in recent months, mostly targeting Shiite neighborhoods or security forces.

While the city of seven million is not in any immediate danger of falling into the hands of the militants, Sunday’s bombing could raise tensions.

Food prices in the city have risen, twofold in some cases, because of disruption to transport on the main road heading north from the capital.

The government bolstered defenses around Baghdad Sunday, a day after hundreds of Shiite men paraded through the streets with arms in response to a call by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani for Iraqis to defend their country.

ISIL has vowed to attack Baghdad but its advance to the south seems to have stalled in recent days. Thousands of Shiites have also volunteered to join the fight against the ISIL, also in response to al-Sistani’s call.

Read: Iraqi security forces stage major counter-attack against militants >

Tony Blair: Syrian war to blame for Iraq violence, not 2003 invasion >

Explainer: What’s happening in Iraq? >

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Associated Press

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