- The Washington Times - Sunday, July 19, 2009

BAGHDAD | Iraqi authorities have arrested a member of an Iranian-backed militia suspected in an attack that killed three American soldiers in southern Iraq, police said Saturday.

Maj. Gen. Adil Daham, chief of the Basra provincial police, said the militiaman confessed early Saturday to the attack on a U.S. base near the airport. The soldiers were killed Thursday night in a rocket attack, the U.S. military said, in a rare assault on troops in the comparatively quiet south.

During a search of the house where the suspect and an aide were arrested, Iraqi officials say they seized four Iranian-made rockets and documents listing names of officials to be targeted.

U.S. military commanders believe some Shi’ite militias have received funds and training from Iran, which denies the charge.

In other developments Saturday, a bomb struck the vehicle of a Sunni tribal leader as he was leaving his house near Fallujah, a former insurgent stronghold west of the capital, police said.

Sheik Naeim Salih al-Halbosi survived with shrapnel wounds, but his son and two bodyguards were killed, an officer said.

Al-Halbosi is a member of a tribal council cooperating with the Shi’ite-led government on security in the Fallujah region that has helped dramatically reduce insurgent activity in the area.

In another incident near Fallujah, a bomb hidden beneath a heap of straw exploded next to a goal post as children were putting on sports clothes to play soccer. Two children were killed and eight others were injured, police and hospital officials said.

In Baghdad, vast numbers of pilgrims ended several days of commemorations for a Shi’ite saint in what was seen as a security test for Iraqi forces following the withdrawal of U.S. combat troops from urban areas at the end of last month.

The event was a relative success, despite bombings that killed several people and injured dozens. At the same event in 2005, nearly 1,000 Shi’ite pilgrims died in a stampede during a religious procession.

Also Saturday, government spokesman Ali al-Dabbagh said the Iraqi Cabinet approved a measure to confiscate the assets of the family of toppled dictator Saddam Hussein and 52 former close aides who had used their powers to take over or misuse public properties or funds.

The government said a committee had been formed to investigate and decide whether to exclude some Iraqis whose assets had been frozen since the 2003 ouster of Saddam, who was executed three years later. Parliament must approve the bill.

LOAD COMMENTS ()

 

Click to Read More

Click to Hide