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Cops Bust Car Theft Ring, Linked to Attacks
Stolen Vehicles Used in IED Blasts; Hidden Missile Leaves Militant Childless
By SLOGGER NETWORK 06/17/2009 5:36 PM ET
Google Earth image/IraqSlogger.com.

Iraqi forces in the province of Salah al-Din, north of Baghdad, conducted raids targeting an auto theft ring whose activities were allegedly providing vehicles for use in bombing attacks in the governorate.

Police in the al-Duz district, about 50 miles east of the provincial capital Tikrit, targeted the four individuals on Thursday who were reportedly selling stolen vehicles to groups linked to the al-Qa'ida in Iraq organization for use in vehicle-mounted bombing attacks.

The raids, which were launched after Iraqi police obtained intelligence information as to the site of the theft ring’s activity, led to the arrest of the four men, who were transferred to the local police headquarters for interrogation. Police also seized three stolen vehicles from the site.

The same day, Iraqi forces in the al-Belaj area, just north of Tikrit, recovered the corpse of a young man. The body bore signs of torture and gunshot wounds to the head and chest, security forces said. Security sources identified the man as Ali Shakir, a local resident, whom locals say may have been targeted for voicing opposition to the armed activities of the al-Qa'ida in Iraq organization in the area.

Also Thursday, a missile exploded in a residence in the al-Nafut area, about 25 miles north of Tikrit, killing two children inside and thereby leaving the parents childless. Security sources say that the missile was in storage inside the house when it detonated, killing an 11-year-old boy and 8-year-old girl. Locals told Slogger that the mother of the children was rendered unconscious in the blast and taken to hospital in Bayji. Security sources told Slogger that the owner of the home was linked to the so-called Islamic State of Iraq organization, and might have been keeping the missile in storage for use in a future IED attack.

Finally, the Salah al-Din governorate council has announced that it will form an independent media center in the provincial capital of Tikrit in order to investigate and publicize the workings of the provincial authorities in a bid to mitigate corruption in local governmental affairs, as well as to publicize the policies of the provincial governorate.

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

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