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39 Al Qaeda Militants Face Execution Without Trial In Iraq

PTI 04 Dec 2010, 8:57:26 IST
Security forces in Iraq said it had arrested 39 al Qaeda militants including one of its top officers in raids over the last five weeks.

Wearing orange prison uniforms, the men were paraded at a news conference and face being executed without facing a trial, according to reports.

The group is alleged to have carried out car bombings and attacks against police in Anbar, a former al Qaeda stronghold, as well as recruiting suicide bombers and plotting attacks on government ministries, reports Daily Mail.

Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani said: 'Our demand is not to delay the carrying out of the executions against these criminals in order to deter terrorist and criminal elements.

'The repeated and painful blows to al Qaeda, by the killing and arrests of its leadership, will lead to the demise of al Qaeda in Iraq.'

Mr al-Bolani identified one of the captured men, Hazim al-Zawi, as al Qaeda's third-highest leader in the country and the 'security minister' of its affiliate - the Islamic State of Iraq.

Al-Zawi was brought into the room wearing a black hood, which was removed to allow photographers and TV cameramen to take pictures of his face.

Iraqi and U.S. forces struck a major blow against the Islamist militant group in April when al Qaeda leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri and Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the head of the ISI, were killed in a raid.

Military officials said the deaths were a serious setback to a stubborn insurgency that still unleashes attacks daily, more than seven years after the U.S.-led invasion that ousted Saddam Hussein.

Among those arrested, according to officials, was Ahmed al-Essawi, a religious adviser in ISI, Ali al-Fahdawi, an ISI administrator and Abdul Razaq Albu Essa, the group's head of media.

General Dhiya Hussein, the head of the Interior Ministry's counter-terrorism department, said the raids enabled security forces to obtain pictures and learn the real names of al Qaeda's two top leaders, the men who replaced Masri and Baghdadi.

He said: 'The successful arrest operation connected us to the head of the terrorist organisation, Ibrahim Awad al-Samarrai, who was known as Abu Baker al-Baghdadi, and his war minister, Nuaman Salman, who was known as Abu Suleiman before.

'We call on the politicians not to repeat the past mistakes. Don't let the criminals escape from punishment.'

Last week Iraqi officials announced the arrests of 12 suspected al Qaeda militants in connection with an October 31 attack on a Baghdad Christian church in which 52 hostages and police were killed.