Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Iraq - another weekend of death

A terrorist suspect has been arrested in Manchester’s Moss Side area in a police raid. The man, in his 40s, was said to have connections with a suicide attack in Iraq. Whitehall officials say that there is an established network which sends jihadist volunteers from the UK to Iraq to fight coalition forces.
In Iraq 27 were killed and 128 injured, according to AFP reports, in Hilla on Monday. They died during a double suicide attack during a demonstration near the Mayor’s office. [BBC]
US forces arrested Mohsen Abdul Hamid, leader of the Iraqi Islamic party - one of Iraq's main Sunni parties, which boycotted elections in January. However the man was released soon afterwards after criticism from as high as the Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, who expressed his "surprise and unhappiness", saying, "Treating a political personality of this level in such an arbitrary way is unacceptable." The US forces released a statement after his release which said, "Following [an] interview it was determined that he was detained by mistake and should be released... Coalition forces regret any inconvenience and acknowledge Mr Hamid's co-operation in resolving this matter."
The reaction to US operations around the country has brought an increase in suicide attacks against coalition and Iraqi troops in recent days. On Sunday a suicide attack took the lives of 16 in Baghdad according to the BBC. USA Today reported 23 dead at a restaurant near to the Green Zone when a suicide bomber entered at lunchtime. The Ibn Zanbour restaurant is popular amongst the Iraqi army and police. Al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu Musab Al-Zarqawi’s group, said they were responsible and that the attacker was from Qaim, a town near to current US offensives. These attacks come in the wake of Operation Spear and Operation Dagger, the latest drive by US forces against the insurgency.
[12:20 GMT 21/06/2005]

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