Thirteen arrested in connection with Baghdad bombings

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Monday, December 14, 2009

An Iraqi Interior Ministry official today said that thirteen people are in custody in connection with last Tuesday's coordinated bombings in Baghdad that killed 127 people and wounded 400.

The announcement of the arrests came as lawmakers again questioned officials about security lapses in the capital, where there have been three massive attacks since the beginning of August. It was also revealed that the US military had warned of an attack on Tuesday, but Iraqi officials say there was not time to act.

Jawad al-Bolani, Iraq's Interior Minister.
Image: US DoD.

On Saturday, Iraq's Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani had stated that security forces had prior warning of Tuesday's bombings. He said bureaucracy and a lack of cooperation between government ministries were to blame for security gaps and the inability to stop the attacks.

Of the arrests, al-Bolani said: "There are thirteen coffins waiting for criminals implicated in Tuesday attacks, and those criminals will be tried and convicted." The suspects are thought to have ties with al-Qaida.

An al-Qaida-linked group known as the Islamic State of Iraq has claimed responsibility for Tuesday's bombings and warned of more attacks.

Violence in Iraq has declined in recent months, but militants have continued sporadic attacks. On Sunday, Iraqi police say three car bombings in other parts of the country killed at least three people and wounded more than 30 others.

Officials said one car bomb exploded near Fallujah, killing two people and wounding at least seven. Police say the bomb appeared to target a senior security officer, Colonel Saad al-Shimari, who escaped unharmed. At least one child was among the victims in the attack. Another car bomb blast in Fallujah on Sunday wounded at least five people near the home of an official.

In the northern city of Mosul, a car bomb exploded near a group of Iraqi army recruits, killing one person and wounding 19 others.