BAGHDAD (AP) – Authorities are holding dozens of people as suspects in last week’s suicide bombings in Baghdad, an Iraqi official said Thursday, clarifying earlier remarks by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki that had appeared to link security forces to the attacks.
At an hourlong news conference Wednesday, al-Maliki cited the continuing investigation of the Dec. 8 attacks that killed 127 people and wounded more than 500. He said several security forces were involved in the probe. He also appeared to say that some of the alleged plotters were connected to security forces, telling a news conference: “The investigation is continuing and different security bodies have played a role in revealing the involved net, which is a big one, 24 from a security body, 13 from another body and eight or nine from another one.’ On Thursday, al-Maliki adviser Yassin Majid clarified the prime minister’s remarks.
Majid said al-Maliki was citing the number of suspects caught by different security forces, and that the prime minister did not mean the suspects themselves were members of the various security forces.
A number of calls by The Associated Press seeking clarification Wednesday went unanswered.
The prime minister is running for re-election in March on a campaign of restoring security in Iraq, but has recently come under criticism after a series of blasts targeting government institutions in downtown Baghdad. The attacks have called into question the government’s ability to protect itself and its citizens.