Baghdad, Asharq Al-Awsat – An Iraqi Interior Ministry official has admitted to Asharq Al-Awsat that investigators used violence to extract confessions from suspects and that 75 per cent of insurgents’ leaders, including top al-Qaeda figures, were dead.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry Spokesman General Abdel-Karim Khalaf told the Asharq al-Awsat that some investigators had used violence to force suspects to confess but they did this ‘without the knowledge’ of people in higher authority.
‘The use of violence is an old technique that we have no need for as we have enough ways other than extracting confessions by force,’ Khalaf said.
The Ministry had ‘the world’s biggest criminal investigation institute, which has no equivalent except in the United States,’ the general maintained.
He added further that even European countries did not have a similar body with its advanced equipment, which the British government helped Iraq acquire.
About the proliferation of small and medium arms ‘and even heavy ones’ among Iraqi civilians, Khalaf conceded that Iraq had become a weapon arsenal.
‘The former army left 7 million arms of all kinds while the Ministry of Interior left 3 million, thus making material for bombings, and explosives available for terrorists,’ Khalaf said.
Added to this are arms which Iraqis themselves had since every household under the former regime possessed a gun or two, the official said.
He warned that the Interior Ministry would take stringent measures to hold accountable civilians who kept medium guns or arms stolen from state bodies.
‘We will give every household the right to keep a gun but any more arms will be confiscated,’ he said.
About the outcome of large-scale security offensives launched by Iraq’s forces, Khalaf asserted that 75 per cent of leaders of armed groups, especially the al-Qaeda terror network, were killed.
He claimed that the leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq, Abu-Ayyub al- Masri, was killed, saying no one had heard his voice since he was declared dead.
Khalaf said large-scale offensives, involving ‘the biggest’ number of Iraqi army and police forces, would be launched in the southern provinces of Diwaniyah and Basra.