02/21/2008, 00.00
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Disabled and beggars banned from the streets of Baghdad

The initiative has been launched by Iraq's Interior Ministry and is aimed at avoiding that this vulnerable group be exploited as terrorists or suicide bombers. The disabled and homeless will be transferred into public care centres.

Baghdad (AsiaNews/Agencies) – Iraq’s Interior Minister has ordered the clearing of the homeless, beggars and mentally disabled from the streets of Baghdad and other cities in the country, in attempts to avoid that terrorists use them as “unwitting bombers”. Spokesman for the minister,  major general Abdul-Karim Khalaf, explains that police will take these categories of citizens from the streets and transfer them to health care centres and hospitals where they can be cared for.

Iraqi and American forces accuse al-Qaeda of having used two disabled women to carry out the February 1st bombing which killed over 100 people in the capital.  According to the US army and the Baghdad government Sunni  terrorists are exploiting society’s most vulnerable to avoid raising suspicions at check points present in many markets, bridges and sensitive areas in the city.  This is why the police has decided to deploy over one thousand women officers in the holy city of Karabala ahead of next weeks arrival of thousands of pilgrims.

Either way there is concern regarding the fate of those disabled who will be taken into care in the psychiatric hospitals. Recently the director of one eastern Baghdad clinic al-Rashad, was arrested under suspicion of having links to al-Qaeda.



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