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Amiriya: Masked Raiding Forces Raise Fears
Western Baghdad Residents Fear Deterioration in Security Situation
By SLOGGER NETWORK 03/03/2009 9:56 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

After Iraqi Army forces arrived in armored personnel carriers and conducted arrest raids in Baghdad’s Amiriya district, residents told IraqSlogger that families of the 35 detainees contacted locally based Army units and were told that they had no knowledge of the raids.

Locals say that Army forces in Amiriya told family members that they had no operational relationship with the Iraqi units that arrived in 11 Humvees on Saturday to conduct the raids.

The raiding force consisted of masked soldiers who were guided by masked informants, eyewitnesses said.

Family members of the detained also contacted western Baghdad command, who also reportedly said that they had no knowledge of the raids.

All but eight of the 35 men detained in the western Baghdad district were released the next day after interrogation, residents report.

Some rumors circulating in the district, which cannot be confirmed at this time, suggest that the raiding force may have come from Iraqi bases near the Baghdad airport.

Locals tell Slogger that the raids have sparked fears of unknown and unaccountable military forces and arbitrary raids, explaining that residents of the district feel caught between what some describe as a deterioration in the security situation in Ameriya and the raiding security forces.

Residents of other predominantly Sunni areas of Baghdad have also expressed concerns over what they perceive to be a deteriorating security situation. In addition to Ameriya, residents of nearby Ghazaliya have said that locals in the predominantly Sunni section of the district are also talking openly about steady increase in violent acts. Residents of Baghdad’s southern Dora district also report fears of deteriorating security, as IraqSlogger reported elsewhere.

Residents of Baghdad’s southwestern Saidiya area also told Slogger that there are fears circulating of abduction gangs returning to action in the area. Locals say that the rumors circulating in the district maintain that the gangs are targeting children especially. The rumors say that the gangs have returned after being trained in the neighboring countries. Members of IraqSlogger's network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report but choose to remain anonymous for security reasons.

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