Wednesday, September 03, 2003


A few hours later, a member of the U.S.-appointed Iraq Governing Council - the brother of the cleric who was killed in Friday's much larger bombing in Najaf - angrily called for an end to the American-led occupation.

"The occupation force is primarily responsible for the pure blood that was spilled in holy Najaf," Abdel-Aziz al Hakim told hundreds of thousands of people who had gathered at the funeral for his brother, Ayatollah Mohammad Baqir al Hakim. The cleric died Friday along with as many as 120 others when a bomb exploded outside one of Islam's most revered Shiite mosques.

"Iraq must not remain occupied and the occupation must leave so that we can build Iraq as God wants us to do," Hakim said in Najaf

Meanwhile, looks like the Iraqis need to tighten up their own security.

Anyone wanna take odds on there being a bribe involved?

Iraqi police were investigating how the pickup truck containing the bomb got past a police checkpoint and into an impound lot next to the headquarters, said a U.S. adviser who asked not to be named. Iraqi police said it wasn't a suicide attack, and that the bomb might have been detonated by remote control.

"How it got there is suspect," the adviser said. "All cars that go in there should be checked."

Iraqi police officials said Baghdad police chief Hassan Ali, whose office was damaged, appeared to have been the target of the attack. Ali wasn't in the building at the time, police said.

The building, known as the Iraqi Police Academy, serves as a training center and headquarters.

On the other hand, perhaps it wasn't a bribe...just sheer incompetence.

Colonel Hussein said the Chevrolet pickup truck had been towed to the compound by the city's traffic police, a separate force that uses the parking lot to store impounded vehicles.

The police guard manning the checkpoint at the entrance to the compound, which included a police academy, failed to perform the requisite search, Colonel Hussein said.

"The guard said he thought the traffic police had already searched it," Colonel Hussein said. The police intended to investigate who in the traffic police was responsible for delivering the car to the lot, and how it came to be parked so near the chief's office, Colonel Hussein said.

"Anyone entering the compound would have had to show a police badge," he said. "We have many questions to ask."

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