Thursday, May 24, 2007


70 per cent of foreign insurgents arrested in Iraq come from Gulf countries

(AP) - Seventy percent of foreign insurgents arrested in Iraq came from Persian Gulf countries via Syria where they were provided with forged passports, an Iraqi intelligence officer said in a published report Wednesday. "They, according to their own confessions, gather in mosques in the said (Gulf) states to travel to Syria using their passports, taking with them phone numbers of individuals waiting for them there," Brig. Gen. Rashid Fleih, the assistant undersecretary for intelligence of Iraq's Interior Ministry, told Kuwait's Al-Qabas daily in an interview.
Fleih did not provide more specific details about the alleged insurgents or which countries they came from. But he said once in Syria, the alleged insurgents were transported to the al-Qaim border area where they were provided with new passports after their old ones were destroyed, Fleih said in an interview from Baghdad.
U.S. and Iraqi officials claim Syria does not do enough to prohibit people of different nationalities from crossing its 380-mile border with Iraq to join the ranks of al-Qaida and other insurgent or terrorist groups there. Damascus denies the allegations and says it is doing all it can to stop them.
The Iraqi intelligence officer did not say where the other 30 percent of insurgents in custody came from. A large percentage of insurgents fighting in Iraq are Iraqi. Iraq's other neighbor Iran, is suspected of aiding Iraqi Shiite fighters with training, money and weapons. Tehran denies the accusations.
Once in Iraq, the insurgents were provided with forged Iraqi documentation and money to buy cars which they rig with booby traps, Fleih told the newspaper. He also accused Baathist followers of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein of offering the foreign insurgents information about targets. "In brief, there is clear intelligence cooperation between them," Fleih told the newspaper.

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