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IraqSide:Developments
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US Forces Arrest Sahwa Men in Diyala
Prominent ISCI Member Released; Iraqi Forces Detain Six Wanted PUK Members
By SLOGGER NETWORK 04/06/2009 5:43 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

American forces arrested at least two members of the locally organized forces known in Arabic as Sahwa in a raid last week in Diyala Province. Eyewitnesses told IraqSlogger that US ground troops with the support of American helicopters targeted the al-Sawamera area north of Ba'qouba in the raid on Friday, arresting the two men.

Locals say that the captives were taken off in an unknown direction, adding that US forces generally take local detainees to an American facility for processing in eastern Ba'qouba before either moving them to larger American bases for detention or transferring the detainees to Iraqi custody for investigation and possible release.

Attacks foiled

Meanwhile, security sources told Slogger that Iraqi police foiled an IED attack on a Sahwa member last Sunday. The man, known as Haj Khalid, had survived a previous attempt on his life by a woman wearing a suicide vest in October of last year. Police on Sunday discovered an IED that had been placed in the Sahwa member’s parked vehicle in a public market in Ba'qouba, prompting them to shut down nearby shops. An Iraqi explosives team deactivated the device without casualties. Iraqi forces conducted raiding operations after the incident, including interrogating the guests in a nearby hotel, eyewitnesses said.

Also last Sunday, Iraqi forces foiled an attack by a would-be female suicide bomber in Ba'qouba. The attacker apparently intended to target a police station in the city center. The following day, an attacker riding an explosives-rigged bicycle killed at least five municipal workers and wounded at least four in central Ba'qouba near a major municipal office.

ISCI leader released

American forces released a prominent leader of the Iraqi Supreme Islamic Council in Diyala Province yesterday, according to statements by Iraqi security forces. The detention last month of Shaykh Abu Ahmad al-Khalisi set off protests among supporters of the Shi'a political trend who demanded his release. The circumstances of the local political leader are still not known.

PUK members detained

Iraqi forces arrested six activists belonging to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party in the Jalawla district of northern Ba'qouba province last Monday, security sources said, on allegations of links to the murder of the imam of a large mosque in the area earlier. The men had been wanted by Iraqi forces for some time, sources say, but were protected by Kurdish militias linked to the major Kurdish parties that operate in the area, which enjoys a large ethnic Kurdish population.

Tainted formula

Finally, over 10,000 boxes of childrens’ formula were disposed of last week by local food authorities of the Iraqi Ministry of Trade, locals told Slogger. The milk powder, although imported from Vietnam on an Iraqi government contract, were found to be in unsafe conditions.

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

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