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Iraqi death squad takes marching orders from Iran
The former leader of an Islamic militant group in Basra admitted on Friday that his movement "took part in death squads which operated in this city" with input from the Iranian secret services. Abu Kazem, who declined to name his group, told Adnkronos International (AKI) the 'members' of his political movement "were part of a group tasked with carrying out murders in Basra". Iraq's interior ministry on Thursday set up an inquiry into on-going allegations from the Sunni minority of death squads within the police force, after a US general revealed the arrest of 22 policemen allegedly on a mission to kill a Sunni.

"We met from time to time at the base of one of the [Islamist] organisations along with members of the Iranian secret services who gave us instructions on the people who were to be killed" Abu Kazem said.

"All the parties and the movements were in possession of a variety of arms which were usually used for this [murders] along with police uniforms and police cars which were provided to the parties at the time by the former chief of police" he added.

Abu Kazem underlined that the decisions on which people to kill were made "according to orders from Iran, and first and foremost targets were local officials, academics and journalists".

He denied taking part personally in these attacks, saying his role was limited to "planning, while the former members of my group took part in at least ten of these hit operations". He did not specify who was killed or when.

The official spokesman for the British forces in Basra recently spoke to reporters about the "death squads run within the Iraqi interior ministry" and has since undertaken probes into this. The situation in Basra have been tense since last September when Shiite militia arrested two British undercover agents.

Major Alex Wilson, of the seventh armoured brigade in Basra, told AFP the military had put in place a reform programme which involved reforming the police or punishing those "who refuse to reform and are part of assassination squads".

The British government has on several occasions accused Tehran of being behind some of the violence in Iraq.

In October last year, prime minister Tony Blair warned Iran against interfering in Iraq, saying London suspected explosives used to kill British troops there may have come from the Islamic republic.

In a joint news conference with visiting Iraqi President Jalal Talabani, Blair said "what is clear is that there have been new explosive devices used not just against British troops but elsewhere in Iraq."

"The particular nature of those devices led us either to Iranian elements or to Hezbollah," Blair said. "However, we can't be sure of this at the present time."
Posted by:Dan Darling

#1  The epicenter is/remains Iran
Posted by: Captain America   2006-02-18 14:49