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Iraqi Official Labels Party A Neo-Ba'athist Insurgent Group

BAGHDAD (RFE/RL) -- An Iraqi official says an undergroup group called the Party of Return is a cover for the banned Ba'ath Party of former Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein.

Interior Ministry spokesman Major General Abdul-Karim Khalaf told RFE/RL's Radio Free Iraq in Baghdad that "the Party of Return is the other, ugly face of the banned Ba'ath Party. It has been involved in criminal acts in various parts of the country."

Khalaf said the group has established cells in Sunni-dominated areas like the violence-ridden Diyala Province northeast of Baghdad.

Hussein's ruling Ba'ath Party was banned after his regime fell to U.S. forces in 2003. The ban on the party is enshrined in the Iraqi Constitution.