At least two high level members of the former Ba'thist regime have been transferred to the facility in Baghdad where they will likely be executed, Iraqi security sources told IraqSlogger, while locals in a nearby Baghdad district fear a connection between the apparently impending hangings and car bomb attempts in the area.
A source inside the Iraqi National Guard confirmed with IraqSlogger that at least two of the three former Iraqi officials sentenced to death in the Anfal case have been transferred to the Baghdad facility known to Iraqis as al-Shu'ba al-Khamsa, or "Section Five," a former notorious center of the Saddam Hussein-era military intelligence apparatus, now used by Iraqi and American forces under the name Camp Justice.
The complex is isolated at the tip of a small peninsula jutting out into a bend in the Tigris River, east of the densely populated predominantly Shi'a district of Kadhimiya.
The three former Iraqi officials sentenced to be hanged in the Anfal trial are Ali Hassan al-Majid, known as "Chemical Ali," Sultan Hashem Ahmed, and Hussein Rashid Mohammed.
The same gallows where the men are expected to be executed shortly was also used to put Saddam Hussein to death in December, as well as other high-profile Ba'thist officials since then, including Barzan Ibrahim al-Tikriti, Awad Hamid al-Bandar, and Taha Yasin Ramadan.
On the streets of Kadhimiya, locals describe heavy security and an air of tension, noting that the district, which houses one of Iraq's major Shi'a shrines, has experienced intense security measures and attempted terrorist attacks, which locals link to the executions that seem to be nearing.
Roads in and out of Kadhimiya have been severely restricted for the last four days, Slogger sources report, and residents of the district fear that the district may be targeted by further car bomb attacks in an effort by militants to disrupt or protest the nearby execution.
A car bomb on Sunday in the district killed at least killed at least 10 people on Sunday in the district, and another car bomb was defused in Aden Square on Tuesday, Baghdad security authorities reported.
Locals tell IraqSlogger that they fear that those seeking to protest or attempt to disrupt the execution of former Ba'thist officials by the Shi'a-led government will target Kadhimiya, the nearest Shi'a area to the execution.
The New York Times reported Thursday that the defendants who had been transferred by helicopter to the Kadhimiya facility were still in American custody at the complex, and that an execution appointment had not been revealed. The men would be transferred to the Iraqi authorities two hours before they were to be hanged, the Times added.
IraqSlogger's network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report but choose to remain anonymous for security reasons.