Iraqi forces arrest 16 suspected al-Qaida members

July 24, 2011 20:53

BAGHDAD - Iraqi security forces have arrested 16 suspected al-Qaida members accused of being behind more than 100 killings in the capital, a senior security official said on Sunday.

General Ahmed Abu Ragheef, the Interior Ministry's head of internal affairs, accused the men of carrying out the high-profile assassination in May of Ali al-Lami, a senior Iraqi politician who helped purge members of Saddam Hussein's banned Baath party from politics after the 2003 US-led invasion.

Militants have stepped up attacks, specifically targeting police and army officers, to try to destabilize the government as U.S. troops prepare to leave by the end of December, more than eight years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.

"We managed to arrest the terrorist group that was responsible for the recent assassinations in Baghdad," Ragheef told reporters at a news conference.

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