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Page last updated at 15:35 GMT, Saturday, 22 August 2009 16:35 UK

Baghdad blasts 'were inside job'

Aftermath of bombing in Baghdad, 19 August 2009
The attacks killed at least 95 people and injured more than 500 others

Iraq's foreign minister has said that members of the security forces may have collaborated with attackers in two huge truck bombings in Baghdad on Wednesday.

Hoshyar Zebari said the militants must have been helped to get through checkpoints to foreign and finance ministry buildings in the city centre.

The blasts and other attacks in Iraq's capital killed at least 95 people.

Mr Zebari also warned violence may rise in the coming days, six weeks after US troops withdrew from Iraqi cities.

Blast wall row

"According to our information, there has even been collaboration between security officers and the murderers," Mr Zebari told reporters on Saturday.

He said the attacks had been well planned, and asked how the trucks had been allowed into central Baghdad - a no-go area for heavy vehicles.

KEY ATTACKS SINCE US PULLBACK
19 August: At least 95 killed in wave of attacks in central Baghdad
31 July: At least 27 dead in bombings outside five Baghdad mosques
9 July: 50 killed in bomb attacks at Talafar (near Mosul), Baghdad, and elsewhere
30 June: US troops withdraw from Iraqi towns and cities. Car bomb in Kirkuk kills at least 27 people

"We will investigate that," the minister said.

However, he offered no direct evidence to back up his accusations.

Mr Zebari also said "that there has been a deterioration in security and the coming days may be worse".

He criticised a recent decision by Prime Minister Nouri Maliki to remove most blast walls protecting government buildings and shopping centres in Baghdad.

"The removal of blast walls and checkpoints due to a false sense of security is also a reason" for Wednesday's blasts, Mr Zebari said.

The decision to take down the walls by mid-September was reversed after the attacks.

The authorities have also detained 11 security officers on suspicion of negligence following the blasts.

Correspondents say the attacks raise concerns about the ability of Iraqi authorities to ensure security after taking over responsibility for protecting urban areas at the end of June.

Though violence in Iraq has declined since the peaks of 2006 and 2007, it continues to be the target of frequent bomb attacks.

Mr Maliki blamed the latest strikes on al-Qaeda in Iraq and supporters of Saddam Hussein, who was toppled after US-led forces invaded in 2003.



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