A roadside bomb targeted a joint Danish-Iraqi military patrol near the southern city of Basra on Monday, causing no casualties, officials said. The attack was the first on Danish troops since protests against a Danish newspaper for publishing widely criticized caricatures of Islam's prophet. In Baghdad, the bodies of two men, both riddled with bullet wounds, bound and gagged, were found Monday in different locations, police said. The identities of the victims were not known and there was no motive known for their execution-style killings.
The attack on the Danish-Iraqi patrol happened about 9 a.m. as the troops crossed a bridge in a rural area about 100 kilometers (60 miles) north of Basra, Iraq's second-largest city, police Capt. Mushtaq Talib said.
British Maj. Peter Cripps said coalition forces are investigating if there was any link between the attack and September's publication by the Danish newspaper Jyllands-Posten of the cartoons of Prophet Muhammad deemed offensive by many Muslims.
The blast also coincided with increased tensions between Iraqis and British forces following last week's detention of several policemen linked with Shiite militia-related killings and kidnappings. "The Danish patrols have made no change in activities since the caricatures were published, but clearly they will put some more attention on the local population and how they fell about the Danish presence here," Cripps said.
About 430 Danish troops are in Iraq and are based in the northern part of Basra province, a predominantly Shiite Muslim region that has been calmer than other parts of Iraq, despite periodic spikes in sectarian- and militia-related violence.
The 12 drawings included one showing Muhammad wearing a turban shaped as a bomb with a burning fuse. Another portrayed him with a bushy gray beard and holding a sword, his eyes covered by a black rectangle. A third pictured a middle-aged prophet standing in the desert with a walking stick in front of a donkey and a sunset, reports the AP. I.L.
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