Iraq again seeks international bombing probe

AP News
Posted: Nov 06, 2009 6:34 PM

Iraq's foreign minister has reiterated his country's request for a high-level international envoy to investigate the extent of foreign involvement in recent bombings of government institutions.

In a letter to Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon circulated Friday, Hoshyar Zebari said the aim of the attacks on Aug. 19 and Oct. 25, which killed and injured hundreds of civilians, was "to paralyze the Iraqi state and its institutions and to abort the democratic political process under way in Iraq."

"These attacks should be investigated because they are a threat to international peace and security and because the security situation in Iraq, which is regarded as the forward battleground in the global war against terrorism, is of great concern to the international community," Zebari said.

Iraq has blamed an alliance between al-Qaida in Iraq and Saddam Hussein's outlawed Baath Party for the pair of truck bombings on Aug. 19 outside the Foreign and Finance ministries in Baghdad that killed about 100 people. The Iraqi government wants Syria to hand over several suspects it says are based there.

Zebari said the pair of suicide car bombings on Oct. 25 "targeted government institutions in the same manner and at the same time of day as the terrorist attacks of Aug. 19."

The bombings claimed at least 155 lives, wounded over 700 people, and destroyed or seriously damaged three major government buildings _ the Justice Ministry, the Ministry of Municipalities and Public Works, and the Baghdad Provincial Administration, akin to City Hall.

Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon announced last week that he was sending a senior U.N. official to Baghdad in response to a request from Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki in September that he ask the Security Council to establish an independent investigation commission into the Aug. 19 bombings.

Assistant Secretary-General for Political Affairs Oscar Fernandez-Taranco held consultations in Baghdad this week, including with al-Maliki and Zebari, U.N. associate spokesman Farhan Haq said.

Zebari's letter, written before Fernandez-Taranco's visit, reiterated "Iraq's request for a high-level international envoy to be appointed to assess the extent of foreign involvement in terrorist acts committed in Iraq."

"We further reiterate that organized attacks of such size and complexity could not have been planned, funded and executed without significant support from outside parties," Zebari said.

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