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Lawmaker claims Iraqi soldier "executed" civilians in raid


dpa German Press Agency
Published: Sunday January 14, 2007


Baghdad- Violence continued to surge in and around Baghdad,
as a Sunni member of parliament claimed that an Iraqi soldier had
"executed" eight Iraqis during a raid last week - "in presence of US
military forces."
Addressing the press, Abdel-Karim al-Samarae, member of the Iraqi
Accord Front which has 44 seats in parliament, claimed that an Iraqi
army soldier "executed eight people after blindfolding them in front
of bystanders and members of the US military forces."

"(At least) 11 civilians were killed during the raid, which was
carried out by US aircraft," he said.

Meanwhile, an Iraqi Army general told the press Sunday that US and
Iraqi forces killed around 95 militants and detained 40 others during
a raid targeting terrorist bases in Balad, around 80 kilometres
north-east of Baghdad.

General Shaker al-Kabei said some al-Qaeda members were among
those killed and detained.

The US military also announced that their forces along with
members of the Iraqi police captured three known insurgents who were
meeting at al-Mahdi mosque in Balad in the so-called Sunni triangle.

According to the US statement, "The captured insurgents have been
known to use prayer times as a cover for planning attacks against
Iraqi and coalition forces."

It was not clear whether the arrests were made in the same raid
referred to by al-Kabei.

In other developments, three people were killed and seven wounded
in separate attacks in Baghdad, while a fire burned down many
commercial stores overnight in Shurga market, one of the capital's
largest marketplaces.

Since 2003, the market has suffered at least three major fires and
more than 10 bomb attacks. Police did not reveal if the latest
incident was related to arson or terrorism.

In other incidents in the capital, a worker and a driver for the
state-run al-Sabah newspaper were said to have been gunned down by
militants in a suburb of northern Baghdad, according to the Sunday
edition of al-Sabah.

The corpses of the two Iraqis, who were kidnapped Saturday, were
found overnight by their relatives.

In Hillah, 100 kilometres south of Baghdad, three people were
killed and one wounded when armed gunmen fired at random at
civilians.

In the same city, at least nine terrorist suspects were rounded up
by US military forces.

The city of Baquba, 60 kilometres north of Baghdad, was also hit
by violent attacks, in which at least five security personnel were
killed and two were wounded in separate incidents.

In one of the incidents, militants seized a weapons cache from a
checkpoint after the surviving soldiers fled, Iraqi authorities said.

And in a statement released by the US military Sunday, five
Iranians arrested during a raid in the Kurdish city of Arbil on
Thursday were said to belong to a special unit of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guards, a military organization distinct from the
regular army.

The men belonged to a group "known for supplying extremist groups
with money, weapons and technical expertise in the making of
explosives for the purpose of destabilizing the Iraqi government and
attacking coalition troops," the statement said.

Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki had criticized the
detention of the five and described the incident as representing "the
total failure of US policy in Iraq."

According to Interior Minister Jawad al-Bulani, the Iraqi premier
had already chosen "independent" Abud Qanbar as the new military
general who will be leading the upcoming security operations. His two
aides were also named.

"The new operations will not exclude any area or district,
regardless of its partisan or religious affiliation," al-Bulani said.

Also on Sunday, President Jalal Talabani arrived in Damascus for
talks with Syrian President Bashar Assad on ways of boosting
cooperation to end the violence in Iraq.

Talibani was expected to discuss security issues with his
counterpart.

© 2006 - dpa German Press Agency