More than 20 employees of Iraq’s Ministry of the Interior have been arrested on allegations that they were plotting to revive Saddam Hussein‘s outlawed Baath party, government officials said Thursday.
By QASSIM ABDUL-ZAHRA and SINAN SALAHEDDIN, Associated Press Writers
Provincial election posters advertising Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki’s political list are plastered on a wall in central Baghdad. Iraq has arrested about 50 interior ministry officials for plotting a coup against the Shiite-led government, a senior Iraqi security official said on Thursday.(AFP/File/Sabah Arar)
Interior Ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Abdul-Karim Khalaf told reporters that 23 people, most employees of the ministry’s traffic department, have been arrested over the past five days but he dismissed suggestions they were plotting a coup.
A security official put the figure at 25 and said a brigadier general in the traffic police was the highest-ranking figure. Most of the others are low-level ministry employees, he said.
The official, who has access to the investigative file, spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about the matter to the media.
Another security official said those in custody were believed to have links to al-Awda, or “Return,” a Sunni underground organization founded in 2003 to try to restore Saddam and the Baath party to power.