Officials said Iraqi security forces have arrested an Al Qaida cell in
Baghdad that had attacked a church nearly a month ago. They said the cell,
consisting of 12 operatives, was led directly by the Al Qaida commander in
"The terrorists confessed to planning and executing the attack on the
church," Maj. Gen. Ahmed Abu Regif, a senior Interior Ministry official,
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In a Nov. 27 briefing, Abu Regif said the detainees included the new Al
Qaida commander of the Baghdad network, Middle East Newsline reported. The official quoted the suspects as
saying that they participated in the Oct. 31 attack on a church in which 46
Christians were killed.
The AQI cell, captured in the west Baghdad neighborhood of Mansour, was
also said to have attacked the Central Bank of Iraq as well as Al Arabiya
satellite channel. In all, officials said they have identified about 20
attacks conducted by the detainees.
The Al Qaida chief in Baghdad was identified as Huthaifa Al Batawi, who
represented the Islamic State of Iraq. Al Batawi was said to have replaced
ISI commander Munaf Abdul Rahim Al Rawi, arrested in March 2010. Another
detainee was identified as ISI commander Amr Al Najadi.
Officials said security forces also captured six tons of explosives and
poison gas in the AQI strongholds. They said the explosives were meant for
use in attacks over the next few months.