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Iraqi Commander Blames Recent Attacks On Al-Qaeda

BAGHDAD -- Iraqi Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi, the commander of the 8th Army Division, told RFE/RL’s Radio Free Iraq (RFI) that Al-Qaeda sleeper cells are responsible for the recent spate of violence in parts of Babil Province, south of Baghdad.

He added that the attacks led to a successful offensive by Iraqi forces that led to the capture of a leading Al-Qaeda member and four aides and that intelligence provided by Iraqi citizens helped the army make the arrests.

Al-Ghanimi told RFI that Awakening Council members -- having turned against Al-Qaeda and under the authority of the Iraqi government since March 1 -- are closely cooperating with Iraqi forces and were not involved in the deadly suicide bombings.

Meanwhile, he said the group assigned to investigate an April incident in Kut in which two Iraqis were killed by U.S. troops has completed its investigation and submitted its report to the government.