Baghdad, Iraq At least two dozen bodies, many bearing signs of torture, were found dumped in Shiite areas of Baghdad on Tuesday, and the government almost doubled the death toll from clashes this week between militiamen and Iraqi forces, saying 73 people had died.
U.S. Atty. Gen. Alberto Gonzales met with Iraq's deputy prime minister in Baghdad in a visit he said was to promote "the rule of law."
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office announced that 50 gunmen loyal to firebrand anti-U.S. cleric Muqtada al-Sadr had been killed in clashes in the southern city of Diwaniyah with the Iraqi army, which lost 23 troops.
The death toll was significantly higher than the 40 people initially reported to have been killed Monday before a deal between the Shiite militiamen and the government ended a fierce, 12-hour street battle.
Diwaniyah was calm Tuesday, residents and officials said, but an explosion at an oil pipeline south of the city killed at least 27 people. The cause was unclear, but police said people had been siphoning oil, which can cause accidental explosions.
In Baghdad, police said they found the bodies of 24 people who had apparently been tortured and shot before being dumped in two locations, both in Shiite neighborhoods.
After meeting with Deputy Prime Minister Barham Saleh, Gonzales, an architect of America's heavily criticized prisoner of war policy, told reporters that his visit was meant to help "promote the rule of law and also help promote security in this great country."
"There are great ambitions for this country." Gonzales said. "Those ambitions cannot be realized without security, and that will be very, very important."
He reiterated the "commitment of the United States government in helping you achieve your dreams for this country."