Category Archives: Iraq
Assailants waving the battle flag of al-Qaida gunned down 25 policemen Monday in a brazen and well-orchestrated challenge to government control over a strategic town fraught with Iraq war symbolism.
The attack replicated tactics used by Sunni insurgents during the war and appeared aimed at reasserting al-Qaida’s grip now that the Iraqis can no longer rely on American help.
The attackers drove through the town of Haditha claiming to be government officials and methodically executed guards and commanders. After half an hour they escaped into the desert, leaving a terrified populace demanding protection. Local authorities imposed a curfew and deployed troops.
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LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) – An Iraqi man who settled in Kentucky as a refugee boasted about having been an insurgent in Baghdad as he plotted with a confidential informant to ship weapons and money to Al-Qaida in his home country, the FBI said in a search warrant application obtained Monday.
FBI Special Agent Chris Faber quoted 24-year-old Mohanad Shareef Hammadi as saying he didn’t know how many explosives he had placed in Iraq because “By God I didn’t count them.”
“I mean, I used to do two or three operations a day in Baghdad and I used to do every day in my neighborhood,” Hammadi said.
Hammadi faces 12 charges, including perjury and attempting to send material support to a known terrorist organization. His trial is scheduled for July 30. Alwan pleaded guilty to 23terrorism-related charges in December and is to be sentenced April 3.
The warrant also detailed how Hammadi and Alwan acquired what they thought were working weapons, including rocket propelled grenade launchers, C4 explosives and Russian-made surface-to-air missiles, and allegedly plotted to ship those and financial aid to Al-Qaida in Iraq. The FBI said all the weapons were rendered inoperable.
Faber said Hammadi and Alwan were recorded at an FBI-rented storage facility in February preparing two rocket propelled grenade launchers, two machine guns, two sniper rifles and two cases of C4 plastic explosives for shipment to Iraq.
Over the next three months, Hammadi and Alwan delivered more inert weapons, including hand grenades and explosives, from an FBI-run storage facility to the tractor-trailer, Faber wrote. The FBI arrested the pair as they delivered three machine guns, three rocket-propelled grenade launchers and two cases of C4 plastic explosives to the tractor-trailer on May 25, Faber wrote.
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BAGHDAD — Iraq’s fugitive Vice President Tareq Al-Hashemi said his bodyguards and other employees are being held in secret prisons and subjected to torture, in an interview broadcast on Monday.
Authorities have charged Hashemi, a Sunni, with running a death squad. He has been hiding out since December in the autonomous Kurdish region of northern Iraq, where the authorities have so far declined to hand him over.
However, members of his bodyguard and employees of his office have been detained in connection with the case.
“All the arrested people from my bodyguards and the employees of my office are being held in secret prisons over which the ministry of justice has no authority, and confessions are being taken from them through torture,” Hashemi said in the speech, which was broadcast on various Iraqi channels.
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– A suicide car bomber killed 19 police officers and cadets Sunday in an attack on a crowd outside a Baghdad police academy, police and hospital sources said.
The car exploded as it careered into a crowd of cadets whom police had just escorted out of the compound and were standing in the street outside, police working at the academy said.
Police and hospital sources said 14 cadets and five police were killed, and 26 people were wounded. All except two of the wounded were police or cadets.
“I can see body parts scattered on the ground and boots and berets covered with blood. Many cars were set ablaze,” said a policeman working at the academy on Palestine Street in northeastern Baghdad.
The attack is the deadliest since January 27, when a suicide bomber set off an explosive-laden vehicle near a Shi’ite funeral procession in Baghdad, killing at least 31 and wounding 60.
It breaks a short period of relative calm that accompanied an easing in a political crisis pitting Shi’ite Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki against senior members of the Sunni-backed Iraqiya political bloc.
Tensions rose Thursday, however, when a panel of judges detailed 150 attacks they said were carried out by death squads under the command of Sunni Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi. Maliki sought Hashemi’s arrest in December, sparking the crisis.
Hashemi, who has taken refuge in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, has denied accusations made against him, dismissing them as a plot to destroy Maliki’s opponents.
Iraqiya lawmakers and ministers responded to Maliki’s move against Hashemi, as well as to an attempt to have a Sunni deputy prime minister dismissed, by staging a walk-out.
Their protest coincided with a string of attacks on Shi’ite targets in December and January which prompted fears of a return to the kind of sectarian bloodshed that peaked five years ago, in the aftermath of the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Iraqiya lawmakers returned to parliament at the end of last month, and Iraq has seen a spell of relative calm since then.
Iraq is less violent than at the height of the sectarian war in 2006-2007 but is still plagued by a lethal Sunni insurgency, including al Qaeda-linked fighters, and Shi’ite militias. Bombings and killings still occur daily.
(Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed and Suadad al-Salhy; writing by Francois Murphy, editing by Rosalind Russell)