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Iraqi health minister arrested - Shi'a Sadr supporter used health ministry facilitities for "sectarian kidnapping and murder"

February 8, 2007

MIM:First the disclosure that one parliamentarian is a convicted terrorists sentenced to death in Kuwait for bombings at the French and U.S. embassies and now this.

This also shows why PM Maliki who is also a Sadr supporter and is dependent on him for his position just cant seem to get it together to crack down on terrorism.

The Coalition should just save time and move the entire government to Abu Ghraib.

(If the Iraq govenment is composed of terrorists and their supporters -its also a good bet that those who were locked at Abu Ghraib were there for a reason and not the innocent victims of "hazing" as they were portrayed by the media)

Iraqi minister arrested over Sadr links,,2008580,00.html

Thursday February 8, 2007
Guardian Unlimited

Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
Iraqi Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr. Photograph: Marwan Naamani/Getty
Iraqi and US forces in Baghdad today arrested the country's deputy health minister on suspicion of providing significant help to Shia militia groups.

Hakim al-Zamili, a supporter of radical Shia cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, was detained during a raid on his office this morning, a health ministry official said.

According to a US military statement, Mr Zamili is suspected of providing significant employment to Shia militia members, who used health ministry facilities and services for "sectarian kidnapping and murder".

He is also implicated in the deaths of several ministry officials and allegedly ran corruption schemes involving inflated contracts for equipment and services, with millions of dollars then funnelled to the Mahdi Army militia loyal to Mr Sadr.

The raid comes a day after the US military announced the beginning of a new security plan to stop rampant attacks in Baghdad.

According to the health ministry spokesman Qassim Yahya, US and Iraqi forces stormed the ministry compound early today.

After they ordered Mr Zamili's bodyguard to step aside, a US soldier approached the minister and told him he was on a list of wanted names, leading him away in handcuffs, the spokesman said.

Mr Sadr's organisation accused Washington of trying to provoke a confrontation and warned Iraq's prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, that he could be next.

"They are trying to drag the Sadrist movement to a confrontation. How else would arresting a deputy health minister without an arrest warrant be read?" Abdel Mahdi al-Matiri told Reuters.

"Zamili is in the government. Maliki should not just keep watching. Maybe tomorrow they will arrest him too."

The US has stepped up operations against the Mahdi Army, which is accused of widespread sectarian killings.

Confronting the force could be a crucial part of new US efforts to stem the current tide of violence in Iraq.

In November last year, Mr Zamili himself survived an assassination attempt when gunmen attacked his convoy and killed two of his bodyguards.

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