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Iraq releases security officials arrested over terrorism charges
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11:07, December 21, 2008

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Iraqi security officials who arrested earlier this week over charges terrorism have been released, the Mashriq independent newspaper reported on Saturday.

"All the officials who were arrested earlier have been freed and interrogations proved that they were clean, including from a charge of linking to the Awda group (The Return)," Brigadier General Abdul kareem Khalaf was quoted as saying.

Late on Friday, Iraq's Interior Minister Jawad al-Bolani angrily dismissed reports that a group of officials from his ministry was plotting to overthrow the government and said the arrests of his men were based on political motives.

"It was clearly motivated by politics and was not related to security," al-Bolani told a news conference in Baghdad.

On Thursday, an anonymous source from the ministry told Xinhua that dozens of Iraqi officials were arrested for charges of linking to the al-Awda group, a secret group linked to Saddam Hussein's Baath Party which was ruling Iraq before the U.S.-led invasion in 2003.

Earlier, the U.S. New York Times reported that some 35 officials in the Iraqi Interior Ministry were arrested.

The report said that those arrested have links with Awda and they paid bribes to officers to recruit them, and large amounts of money have been found during the arrest operations.


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