Saturday, November 27, 2010

12 arrested over Baghdad church massacre

Our Lady of Salvation Church after the
October 31 attack.
Photo by Ankawa.com
VOM reported in early November (see story here) that Islamic militants stormed a Catholic church during Mass in Baghdad, killing 70 people and wounding 75.

The Assyrian International News Agency and CNN reported today that Huthaifa al-Batawi, the leader of the Islamic State of Iraq, the "mastermind, direct supervisor and planner" of the October 31 attack, was among 12 arrested in connection with the deadly church siege.

The Islamic State of Iraq, an umbrella group that includes a number of Sunni extremist organizations and has ties to al-Qaida in Iraq, claimed responsibility for the Baghdad church siege. It was among the first of many attacks in recent weeks targeting Christians (see stories here and here), which have left scores dead and many more wounded throughout the Middle Eastern nation.

Iraqi security forces made the arrests of the 12 "suspected terrorists," who also have links to al-Qaida in Iraq and a wave of Baghdad explosions on November 2, an Iraqi interior ministry official confirmed.

Gen. Ahmad Abu Ragheef, the head of internal affairs at the Interior Ministry, said in an Iraqiya interview that al-Batawi confessed to his role in the church siege, telling Iraqi authorities who he was and about other attacks he supervised.

You can read the full story here.

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