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Huge Explosions in Baghdad Possible Inside Job

UPDATE: Former Police Chief of Saddam Hussein Confesses to Finance Ministry Attack

CNN
August 24, 2009

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HaVm1F-LFOI

Iraqi officials Sunday released what they called a confession from a man identified as a former Baathist police official, who says he helped organize one of last week’s attacks on government buildings in Baghdad.

In the videotaped statement, the man identified himself as Wissam Ali Kadhim Ibrahim, a former police chief in executed dictator Saddam Hussein’s government. Ibrahim said he received orders for the bombing of the Finance Ministry building from a member of Hussein’s Baath Party now living in Syria.

The release of the confession came as Iraqi authorities investigate whether members of the country’s security forces collaborated in Wednesday’s attacks. Iraq’s security forces have come under sharp criticism for failing to prevent the bombings, which have raised doubts about the capabilities and allegiances of Iraq’s army and police.

Wednesday’s suicide truck bombings at the Finance Ministry and the Foreign Ministry, as well as three other blasts, killed at least 100 people and wounded hundreds of others. It was the bloodiest day in the Iraqi capital since U.S. troops withdrew from Iraqi cities at the end of June.

Ibrahim’s statement did not mention the use of trucks or the bombing at the Foreign Ministry, Wednesday’s other major attack. In his statement, which was played for reporters and aired on Iraqi television, the well-dressed 57-year-old said he received orders from Sattam Farhan, who he said was a Baath Party leader in Syria. The goal of the attack was “to destabilize the regime,” Ibrahim said.

Some midlevel and senior members of the Baath Party sought refuge in Syria following the U.S. invasion that ousted Hussein in 2003. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki asked for the handover of some of those ex-officials during a visit to Damascus last week, Iraqi officials said.

Ibrahim spoke calmly and conversationally as he described his involvement in one the deadliest bombings in Iraq this year. He said the vehicle used in the bombing was put together in the town of Khalis, northeast of Baghdad, and said $10,000 was paid to a man who facilitated the passage of the vehicle through checkpoints from Diyala province — where Ibrahim was once a town police chief, officials said — to Baghdad.

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Iraqi FM: Baghdad bombings possible inside job

AP
August 22, 2009

Iraq’s foreign minister says those who carried out bombings that targeted government buildings got help to pull off the attacks, possibly from members of Iraqi security forces.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari also says he regrets allowing the removal of a checkpoint and concrete blast barriers from near the ministry building.

The building was among two that were targeted Wednesday by truck bombs that killed at least 101 and wounded more than 500.

Zebari told reporters Saturday during a press conference in Baghdad that the attacks were well planned and executed.

He says the ministry is also looking into how the trucks carrying the bombs were allowed to pass into areas where they are banned from traveling.