Monday, March 08, 2004

A former Iraqi intelligence officer captured by police after last week's bombings in Baghdad and Karbala has revealed that he was paid by al-Qa'eda to carry out attacks on civilians.

Mohammed Hanoun Hamoud al-Mozani was detained with two associates on Wednesday, a day after almost 200 people were killed in simultaneous explosions at shrines packed with Shias.

After interrogating al-Mozani for 24 hours, Najaf police revealed that he had given important information on the network behind the attacks in Iraq.

"We think that this is a big breakthrough," said Major Mohammed Dayekh of the Najaf police. "Al-Mozani admitted that he was part of a terrorist cell that answered to a middle-man who works for al-Qa'eda and he gave us the names of the four other men in the cell, two from Baghdad and two from Najaf."

Al-Mozani and his associates were wearing police uniforms when they were seen in Najaf. After a car chase, the three men were caught and taken to the city's police headquarters. On Thursday they were handed over to American troops...

The middle-man, who went by the name of Abu Utthman, promised him tens of thousands of dollars for each successful mission. He allegedly told al-Mozani that he was a deputy of Abu Musab al-Zarqawi, the Jordanian terrorist whom the coalition blames for most of the attacks in Iraq.

"Al-Mozani said they were offered between $20,000 (£10,900) and $30,000 (£16,400) to organise terrorist attacks and that they would get bonus money if the attacks led to the death of a large number of people," Major Dayekh said. "He said that he was tempted to work with them because it was such an easy way to make money and that he agreed to do it because he needed the money."

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