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Middle East
Baghdad bomb 'confession' released
Iraqi military airs tape of man apparently confessing to co-ordinating bomb attack.
Last Modified: 24 Aug 2009 14:58 GMT
The confession came as doubts grow over the security force's ability to maintain control [AFP]

The Iraqi military has released a video of a Saddam Hussein loyalist apparently confessing to co-ordinating one of two truck bombings that killed 95 people in Baghdad last week.

Wissam Ali Kadhem, a former police chief, admitted to plotting the attack and said that $10,000 was paid in bribes to checkpoint security staff to reach the finance ministry where the blast occurred.

"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, 57, said in the footage released on Sunday, alluding to Saddam's now outlawed political movement.

Ibrahim said that the truck was prepared in Khalis, 80km, northeast of Baghdad, the capital, and that one of his contacts in the nearby town of Muqdadiya was called to ease its journey to the ministry.

Major-General Qassim Atta, a spokesman for the military's Baghdad operations, said that Ibrahim was the primary culprit responsible for the attack.

Ibrahim said that he was a police chief in Diyala province, northeast Iraq, under Saddam until 1995 and then worked as a lawyer until 2002, after which he became a leading Ba'athist official in the same province.

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

Security criticism

The tape was released amid significant political concern over how the trucks were able to enter central Baghdad and reach government institutions.

The attacks near and in the Green Zone killed
at least 95 people [AFP]
They were the deadliest attacks since US forces pulled out of urban centres at the end of June.

Jane Arraf, correspondent for the Christian Science Monitor in Baghdad, told Al Jazeera the bombings have exposed the deep divisions still threatening the country's political system.

"The Baghdad governor told me last night that he believed that Sunni members of parliament were responsible and then he cast the blame wider, saying that neighbouring countries were funding this, specifically, he said Saudi Arabia.

"This points to the big divide between the Sunni and the Shias. At the top levels it is still very bitter."

Concrete barriers

The removal of "T-walls" - blast-proof concrete security walls - in Baghdad has been stopped as safety fears have grown.

"We will re-examine our strategy on security matters," Salah Abdul Razzaq, Baghdad's governor, said.

He said the assailants had exploited citizens' desire to see the concrete barriers removed, which in turn made it easier to conduct the attacks.

Officials said that more than 10 people had been arrested, comprising the complete network concerning the attacks.

Officials fear the bombings may further undermine public confidence in the ability of Iraqi security forces to keep control following plans for US forces to completely withdraw by the end of 2011.

Source:
Al Jazeera and agencies
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