- Title: IRAQ: Baghdad shows video it says is confession of bomber
- Date: 24th August 2009
- Summary: BAGHDAD, IRAQ (RECENT - AUGUST 19, 2009) (REUTERS) PARTIALLY COLLAPSED BRIDGE NEAR FINANCE MINISTRY DAMAGED BUILDING OF FINANCE MINISTRY POLICE VEHICLES AND FIRE ENGINE ON BRIDGE
- Embargoed: 8th September 2009 13:00
- Location: Iraq
- Country: Iraq
- Topics: Crime / Law Enforcement,Domestic Politics
- Reuters ID: LVAT88QAJJ0NZMB17DWU2HMYBC3
- Story Text: An Iraqi official on Sunday (August 23) showed a video of what he said was a supporter of toppled dictator Saddam Hussein's Baath party confessing to organising one of the truck bomb blasts last week in which 95 people died.
The man said he had orchestrated the bombing together with a leader of a branch of the now outlawed Baath party who was living in Syria.
"A month ago Sattam Farhan ... called from Syria and asked me to conduct a bombing operation to shake the administration," said the man, a bald and moustachioed former police chief whose name was given as Wissam Ali Kadhim Ibrahim. "He said that if you can't do it, we have other factions that can."
Many Saddam loyalists fled to Syria after the fall of Saddam in 2003, and Iraqi officials frequently blame neighbouring countries for fomenting violence in Iraq.
Baghdad security spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi, who displayed the video to the media, had previously announced the arrest of a group of Baathists he alleged were responsible for Wednesday's (August 19) bombings, which devastated the foreign and finance ministries.
His office said on Sunday shortly after the taped confession was aired that every police officer manning checkpoints on the day of the blasts between Baghdad and Diyala province, where the man said the attack was put together, had been arrested.
The bombings, in which more than 1,000 people were wounded, many by glass from the ministries' shattered windows, dealt a blow to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's claim ahead of an election in January to have presided over a fall in violence.
They also shook public confidence in the Iraqi security forces six weeks after U.S. troops pulled out of urban centres and handed primary responsibility for defending the population against insurgent attacks to domestic troops and police.
It was difficult to ascertain the veracity of the confession and of the detentions connected with the bombings.
The government has often trumpeted the arrests of major terrorism suspects only to be proven wrong. The announcement that the culprits behind Wednesday's explosions had been arrested on the same day as the bombings was only made after two days of intense criticism of Iraqi security forces.
Moussawi said other confessions from the network allegedly behind the blasts would be shown to Iraqis in coming days after the conclusion of investigations by judges.
In the video, the man did not mention trucks nor the foreign ministry. He hinted at collusion by someone in the security forces.
"I called someone in Muqdadiya (in Diyala province) to ease the passage of the car through checkpoints to Baghdad. He asked for 10,000 USD," the man said.
"A person called Sattar called me from Baghdad and told me that a car had been prepared in Khalis (in Diyala). I sent this person (from Muqdadiya) to Khalis who brought the car to Baghdad ... and it exploded outside the finance ministry."
- Copyright Holder: REUTERS
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