24 Iraqi Army Officers Reportedly Executed; Qatar Protests Airstrikes

Times Wire Services

Iraq has executed 24 army officers, including a general who used to command Baghdad's air defense system, an opposition group claimed Tuesday. The general's execution triggered rioting by his clan, it said.

The general and 23 other officers were executed Feb. 8 after being accused of conspiring against President Saddam Hussein, according to the opposition group. The report could not be independently verified.

Meanwhile, the moderate Persian Gulf state of Qatar called Tuesday for an end to U.S. and British airstrikes against Iraq, shortly before U.S. warplanes bombed Iraqi defense sites.

Qatar's foreign minister told a joint news conference with U.S. Defense Secretary William S. Cohen that his country opposes such military action.

It was the first open opposition to the attacks Cohen had met on his nine-nation Mideast tour to promote solidarity against Iraq.

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