Iraq delays amnesty as oil prices soar over pipeline strike
BAGHDAD has delayed an amnesty for Iraqis who have supported insurgent attacks which a US daily said Saddam Hussein?s relatives are bankrolling, Also a pipeline breach caused oil prices to soar.
Explaining the delay, Iraqi Prime Minister Iyad Allawi told reporters he wanted to ensure ?human and citizen rights guarantees?.
Last week Mr Allawi, seen as tough on security, said an amnesty would be declared for anyone who acted against the US-led occupation but did not commit a crime, such as those who harboured weapons without using them or kept quiet about insurgents? actions.
Citing US officials and a prominent Iraqi, the New York Times reported a network of Saddam?s relatives was operating in part from Syria and Jordan, and actively smuggling weapons, fighters and money into Iraq. A key leader is
Saddam?s cousin, Fatiq Suleiman al-Majid, described as a former officer in Iraq?s Special Security Organisation who fled to Syria after the US-led invasion, the Times reported.
Saddam?s relatives can tap into tens of millions of dollars, much of it profits from smuggling oil, military equipment and other goods during Saddam?s regime, US officials told the Times.
Up to 15 people were reported killed when explosions rocked a house in the turbulent city of Fallujah.
?US jets shelled a residential house in the al-Shuhdaa neighbourhood in Fallujah,? said police captain Mekky Hussein al-Zaidan.
Ambulances raced to the eastern side of the city, where US air strikes have frequently targeted safe houses used by members of Jordanian militant Abu Musab Zarqawi?s network. Rescue workers picked up body parts, witnesses said.
US forces have hit the area with four air strikes since June 19, killing dozens. Al-Zarqawi, a Jordanian militant said to be connected to al-Qaida, is believed to be behind a series of co-ordinated attacks on police and security forces that killed 100 people only days before US forces handed over power to an Iraqi interim government.
Three Iraqis were killed and 11 wounded in four attacks across Iraq against police and US soldiers since late Sunday.
In one of the incidents, two relatives of a district head in Baquba, north-east of Baghdad, were killed by unknown attackers late on Sunday, a spokesman for the interim government said.
In another, an Iraqi civilian was killed and three wounded when their house was hit in a rocket attack on a police station in the southern city of Basra, police said.
France?s top anti-terrorist judge meanwhile, said the US-led occupation of Iraq had boosted recruitment to Islamist groups in Europe and was a ?black hole? pulling in militants from across the Middle East.
?Increasingly it (Iraq) will wield a power of attraction for groups in the region ... It is a kind of black hole, drawing them in,? Jean- Louis Bruguiere said.
On the trading floors of London, oil prices rose after a weekend breach of a main Iraqi southern oil pipeline cut exports sharply and increasing signs that OPEC could hold back on a planned production hike next month, analysts said.
A domestic oil pipeline was also sabotaged near the central city of Karbala on Sunday and several suspects were arrested, police said.
Meanwhile, Saddam?s Jordan-based defence team has chosen an Iraqi lawyer to defend the deposed dictator in court, and some of its members plan to travel soon to Baghdad, one of the lawyers said.
Jordanian lawyer Issam Ghazzawi declined to identify the Iraqi lawyer ?for his own security and out of fear of reprisals?.