12/10/2009, 00.00
IRAQ
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Mosul, two Christian brothers killed. Al Qaeda cell claims massacre in Baghdad

Both were assassinated by a gunshot to the head. Iraqi cell of al Qaeda promises new attacks if Islamic law is not applied in the country. Senior police officer accuses Syria and Saudi Arabia of complicity.

Baghdad (AsiaNews / Agencies) - Yesterday evening, police found the bodies of two Christian brothers in Mosul, 350 km north of Baghdad. The two were killed with a gunshot to the head. From the capital, meanwhile, fresh claims of responsibility for the bloody attacks on 8 December, which killed 127 people, have arrived from the Iraqi branch of al Qaeda. A senior police official, however, also points the finger at Damascus and Riyadh, which he says "financed" the perpetrators.

Security sources in Mosul confirmed the murder of two brothers originally from Batnaya, a Christian village 20 km north of the city. Yesterday morning the two had arrived in the industrial area of Mosul, to repair their truck. The police found the bodies last night: Both were killed with a gunshot to the head. The dynamics of the attack speak of an execution style killing.  Suspicions fall on Sunni extremists who previously attacked the Christian community.  

In Baghdad, meanwhile, the first claims of responsibility for the massacre on 8 December, which killed 127 people, with over 500 injured. In a statement released through jihadist websites, the Islamic State of Iraq, a local cell of al Qaeda, claims the attack. The fundamentalists promise more attacks if the government does not apply Shariah, Islamic law in the country.  

The Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has removed the head of the security forces in the capital and warned the opposing factions in Parliament not to politicize the attacks.  

A senior Police Official in the capital, however, has accused Damascus and Riyadh of "complicity" in the carnage. Gen. Jihad al-Jabiri, director general of the security forces, said that "this requires considerable capital, which come from Syria and Saudi Arabia" and the governments of both countries "were aware of this." He added that the attacks were committed with explosives "from abroad."  

The perpetrators were members of the former Baath Party of Saddam Hussein, with the collaboration of al Qaeda and "the help of neighbouring countries."

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