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Archive for Sunday, January 27, 2008

Libyan leader’s son said to have hand in deadly bombings

January 27, 2008

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U.S. Deaths

As of Saturday, at least 3,932 members of the U.S. military have died since the beginning of the Iraq war in March 2003, according to an Associated Press count.

— A son of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi is behind a group of foreign and Iraqi fighters responsible for this week's devastating explosion in northern Iraq, a security chief for Sunni tribesmen who rose up against al-Qaida said Saturday.

At least 38 people were killed and 225 wounded Wednesday when a huge blast destroyed about 50 buildings in a Mosul slum.

The next day, a suicide bomber killed the provincial police chief and two other officers as they surveyed the blast site.

Col. Jubair Rashid Naief, who also is a police official in Anbar province, said those attacks were carried out by the Seifaddin Regiment, made up of about 150 foreign and Iraqi fighters who slipped into the country several months ago from Syria.

Naief said the regiment, which is working with al-Qaida in Iraq, was supported by Seif al-Islam Gadhafi, 36, the eldest son of the Libyan leader.

"I am sure of what I am talking about, and it is documented," Naief said, adding that he was "100 percent sure" of the younger Gadhafi's role with the terror group.

A man who answered the phone at Gadhafi's office in Tripoli said Gadhafi was not immediately available for comment on the accusation.

Naief told The Associated Press his information about the Seifaddin Regiment and the younger Gadhafi's purported role came from "reliable sources" maintained by his Anbar Awakening Council within the ranks of al-Qaida in Mosul and elsewhere.

He said the information was passed to the U.S. military two or three months ago.

"They crossed the Syrian border nearest to Mosul within the last two to three months," Naief said of the Seifaddin Regiment. "Since then, they have taken up positions in the city and begun blowing up cars and launching other terror operations."

The Anbar Awakening Council is an alliance of Sunni tribes in the western province that turned against al-Qaida and began working with U.S. forces.

Seif al-Islam seems an unlikely figure as a sponsor of terrorism.

Touted as a reformer, the younger Gadhafi has been reaching out to the West to soften Libya's image and return it to the international mainstream.

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