Open

Coming up

Don't miss

Replay


LATEST SHOWS

MEDIAWATCH

'Macron-economy' pun already worn out

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War

Read more

DEBATE

What Next for Gaza? Lasting Ceasefire Agreed After 50 Days of War (part 2)

Read more

BUSINESS DAILY

New French economy minister signals changes to 35-hour week

Read more

IN THE PAPERS

Valls ♥ Business

Read more

FOCUS

Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

Read more

MIDDLE EAST MATTERS

Terrorist ransoms: Should governments pay up for hostages?

Read more

ENCORE!

Kristen Stewart and Juliette Binoche star in 'Clouds of Sils Maria'

Read more

WEB NEWS

India: journalist launches "Rice Bucket Challenge"

Read more

  • Assad cannot be partner in fight against terrorism, says Hollande

    Read more

  • Evidence of Russian support for Ukrainian rebel counter-attack grows

    Read more

  • Platini will not run against Blatter for FIFA presidency

    Read more

  • Air France pilots announce week-long strike in September

    Read more

  • Erdogan's inauguration paves way for constitutional change

    Read more

  • New French economy minister takes swipe at 35-hour work week

    Read more

  • Air France suspends flights to Ebola-stricken Sierra Leone

    Read more

  • Uzi shooting by 9-year-old rekindles gun debate

    Read more

  • Mother of American journalist asks IS leader for his release

    Read more

  • UN probe accuses Syrian regime, Islamists of ‘crimes against humanity’

    Read more

  • Uruguayans sign up to grow marijuana at home

    Read more

  • Missouri governor appoints black public safety director

    Read more

  • French unemployment rises 0.8% in July to record high

    Read more

  • Video: Iraq’s Yazidis flee to spiritual capital of Lalish

    Read more

  • Video: Milan is starting point for Syrian refugees’ European odyssey

    Read more

  • Airstrikes and Assad - Obama’s military conundrum in Syria

    Read more

  • IMF’s Lagarde investigated in French corruption case

    Read more

Middle east

Detained Baathist confesses to deadly Baghdad bombing

Text by NEWS WIRES

Latest update : 2009-08-24

Iraqi authorities broadcasted on Sunday a video showing a former police chief loyal to Saddam Hussein's Baath party confessing to planning one of the truck blasts that killed 95 people in central Baghdad last week.

AFP - Iraq on Sunday showed a video of a Saddam Hussein loyalist confessing to orchestrating one of two massive truck bombings that killed 95 people and maimed hundreds more in Baghdad four days ago.

Former police chief Wissam Ali Kadhem Ibrahim admitted to plotting Wednesday's attack at the finance ministry, the first of two deadly blasts on the worst day of violence seen in Iraq for 18 months.

"I received a call a month ago from my boss in the (Baath) party Sattam Farhan in Syria to do an operation to destabilise the regime," Ibrahim said in the footage, alluding to Saddam's now outlawed political movement.

The 57-year-old suspect said the truck bomb was prepared in Khalis, 80 kilometres (50 miles) northeast of Baghdad, and that he had called a contact in the nearby town of Muqdadiyah to ensure its safe passage to the capital.

Ibrahim, who said he was a chief of police in Diyala until 1995 under Saddam's rule, said he had worked as a lawyer until 2002 but then became a leading Baathist official in the restive province northeast of Baghdad.

Major-General Qassim Atta, spokesman for the Iraqi Army's Baghdad operations, told reporters that Ibrahim was the main person responsible for the attack at the ministry of finance.

The second truck bombing on Wednesday occurred just minutes later at the ministry of foreign affairs.

Government officials meanwhile told AFP that they had halted the dismantling of blast-proof concrete security walls in Baghdad following last week's devastating attacks.

The decision is a step back from Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki's plan to remove the walls to show that Iraq's security situation was improving.

The decision to stop dismantling the so-called T-walls was taken shortly after the truck bombings, high-ranking officials from the defence and interior ministries said on condition of anonymity.

The sources did not say whether some of the barriers that have already been taken down would be re-erected in the wake of Wednesday's attacks, the deadliest since US forces pulled out of urban centres at the end of June.

The walls are T-shaped concrete barriers about three metres (10 feet) high and linked with heavy-duty metal cables to protect against explosives.

On Sunday, foreign ministry staff were seen erecting a new line of T-walls and the nearby streets remained closed to traffic.

"We will re-examine our strategy on security matters," Baghdad governor Salah Abdul Razzaq told AFP during a visit near the ministry.

"It is possible we will close certain places to ensure security," he said, adding that the bombers had exploited the Iraqi people's desire to see the concrete barriers removed, ultimately making it easier to conduct the attacks.

Premier Maliki said on Saturday that Iraq had taken "decisive measures to tackle the weak points" exposed by Wednesday's bombings.

On Thursday, he ordered the arrest of 11 senior security officers so that they could be questioned on how a four-tonne truck had entered an area where even two-tonne vehicles are barred.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari two days later went further, saying Iraq would witness more deadly attacks in the coming months because security forces are colluding with insurgents and the violence is getting worse.

He also made the first official admission that the blasts signalled security gains made in the past year have recently appeared to unravel, and called for a re-appraisal of the country's entire security apparatus, saying it was not obtaining sufficient intelligence to counter the insurgent threat.

The US military on Sunday announced that an American soldier had died from injuries sustained while on patrol in Baghdad.

The death took the number of American troops killed since the 2003 US-led invasion to 4,334, according to an AFP tally based on independent website icasualties.org.

 

Date created : 2009-08-23

COMMENT(S)