Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

DEBATE

Gaza: A Truce At All Costs?

Read more

AFRICA NEWS

Central African Republic: Brazzaville ceasefire talks deliver fragile deal

Read more

FOCUS

Sluggish tourist season in Crimea

Read more

ENCORE!

Bartabas : Mixing Christ with Spanish music and dancing horses

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Shifts in the propaganda war waged between Israelis and Palestinians

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

French MPs face quandary in pro-Palestinian rallies

Read more

THE INTERVIEW

Yezid Sayigh, Senior Associate at the Carnegie Middle East Center in Beirut

Read more

#TECH 24

Mind the Gender Gap : getting more women into the tech sector

Read more

INSIDE THE AMERICAS

Bolivian children: heading to work aged 10

Read more

  • France says missing Algerian plane 'probably crashed'

    Read more

  • 51 French nationals aboard missing Algerian plane

    Read more

  • Deadly strike on UN shelter in Gaza Strip

    Read more

  • Pope meets with Sudanese Christian woman sentenced to death for apostasy

    Read more

  • Algerian jet vanishes: 'We should eliminate the missile hypothesis'

    Read more

  • Italy’s Nibali cruises to easy victory in 18th stage of Tour de France

    Read more

  • Iraqi parliament elects moderate Kurd as president

    Read more

  • US, European aviation agencies lift travel restrictions to Tel Aviv

    Read more

  • No end to fighting until Israel ends Gaza blockade, Hamas says

    Read more

  • Two foreign women shot dead in western Afghanistan

    Read more

  • At least 60 killed in attack on prison convoy near Baghdad

    Read more

  • Cycling is ‘winning the war on doping,’ says expert

    Read more

  • Ceasefire agreed for Central African Republic

    Read more

  • Can Jew-kissing-Arab selfie give peace a viral chance?

    Read more

  • Botched Arizona execution takes nearly two hours

    Read more

Middle east

11 senior security officers arrested after Baghdad carnage

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-20

Iraqi authorities have detained 11 senior security officers in the wake of the massive twin truck bombings that killed 95 people in central Baghdad on Wednesday. The Iraqi government is investigating reports of negligence at security checkpoints.

AFP - Iraq arrested 11 senior security officers on Thursday as public anger mounted after the government admitted that negligence at checkpoints led to 95 people being killed in two massive truck bombings.

The police, army and intelligence chiefs detained are being questioned over security failings that culminated in the attacks, just minutes apart outside the ministries of finance and foreign affairs, which also left 600 wounded.

Major General Qassim Atta, spokesman for the Iraqi Army's Baghdad operations, said regulations prohibit large trucks such as those that exploded from coming close to central Baghdad, where the two ministries are located.

"An investigation has been launched into how these trucks got into the area," he said.

The admission came after Wednesday's attacks, the country's worst day of violence in 18 months, prompted outrage among Iraqis at how the bombers had been able to commit such atrocities.

"How can they allow a truck to pass through this important street, near this important ministry?" asked a distraught foreign ministry worker, carrying his clothes in a bag as he started to search for a new home because the doors and windows of his apartment had been destroyed.

"This can't be done even in Afghanistan, or Africa," the man, in his 40s, told AFP.

"The high officials and security authorities are responsible for Wednesday's attacks. Such bombings will continue as long as they are still in their posts," he added.

Atta on Thursday announced new security measures, including an increased troop presence on the ground and tougher searches at checkpoints, after a pledge by Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki to overhaul security measures.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari told AFP that Wednesday had seen "some serious, serious security breaches," and that while he could not say who was behind the attacks, their timings were "archetypal of Al-Qaeda."

An interior ministry official said the death toll from the truck bombings had not risen overnight.

Despite Thursday's heightened state of alert, two people were killed and 10 wounded by a bicycle bomb in a market in the largely commercial al-Rasheed street in central Baghdad, security and medical officials said.

Elsewhere, two Kurdish men were killed and two others wounded when gunmen attacked a political party's offices overnight in the disputed northern Iraqi province of Diyala, security and medical officials said.

Two people were killed and 45 wounded when five mortar rounds exploded in a residential area of Musayyib, 55 kilometres (34 miles) south of Baghdad, medics said.

And at Mahawil 80 kilometres (50 miles) south of the capital two more people were killed and 22 were wounded when a market was targeted with two bombs, the local hospital said.

The latest violence comes just ahead of the holy Muslim fasting month of Ramadan and less than two months after US troops withdrew from towns and cities in the conflict-torn country.

Maliki aide Ali Musawi told AFP that Wednesday's truck bombs would not derail the government's quest to restore long-term stability to Iraq.

"They are trying to undermine all of Maliki's successes and reduce his popularity," said Musawi, but "the gains which we achieved are greater than anything they are trying to do."

Analysts, however, said the attacks had shattered attempts by Maliki to portray himself as a guardian of security ahead of nationwide parliamentary elections in January 2010.

"Maliki is clearly the man who wanted to be the symbol of increasing security and security capabilities, and that is clearly not the case," International Crisis Group analyst Loulouwa al-Rachid said.

"If this trend (of violence) continues, yes, definitely it's going to weaken Maliki. Practically, it will endanger the whole process. How can you run elections if security is an issue?"

The international community, led by the UN security council, condemned the blasts, which came on the sixth anniversary of a bombing on the UN compound in Baghdad that killed special envoy Sergio Vieira de Mello and 21 others.

The White House described Wednesday's bombings as "senseless violence," but the Pentagon noted that they would not affect the US military's plans to withdraw from Iraq by the end of 2011.
 

Date created : 2009-08-20

COMMENT(S)