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Samawa Raids Target Suspects on the Lam
Protestors Rally for Relatives in Saudi Jails; Assassination Suspect Handed Over
By SLOGGER NETWORK 01/20/2009 3:59 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

Security forces in the southern Iraqi province of Muthanna mounted weekend raids in the provincial capital of Samawa targeting wanted men from other areas of Iraq suspected of hiding out in the city.

Eyewitnesses reported the raids to IraqSlogger, saying that the targeted areas are known for relatively inexpensive housing. Locals say that wanted elements are reported to have fled from other governorates during security crackdowns elsewhere and taken up residence in the deep south of Iraq. Locals say the raids, which launched Saturday, came at the orders of the local judicial authorities.

Families demonstrate

Families of Iraqi prisoners in Saudi Arabian prisons staged a demonstration last Thursday in Samawa near the provincial governor's office, eyewitnesses report. The protestors demanded that the governor, Ahmad Marzouk al-Salal meet with them.

One child was holding a sign that read "I want my father" in Arabic, witnesses say. After the protestors rallied for several hours, the governor came out to meet them and told the crowd that he would take up the matter Iraqis in Saudi prisons with Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

The two countries recently agreed to repatriate several hundred Iraqi prisoners from Saudi Arabia to Iraq, but family members say that the policy has not been implemented.

Assassination suspect handed over

Finally, Coalition forces announced last week that they handed over a suspect detained in connection with the 2007 assassination of the former governor of Muthanna Province, Muhammad al-Hasani, following the terms of the security agreements inked between Iraq and the United States.

Samawa's chief of police Kadhim Abu al-Hayl was present for the handover from American forces.

Members of IraqSlogger's network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report but choose to remain anonymous for security reasons.

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