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Page last updated at 20:11 GMT, Wednesday, 16 December 2009

Iraq offers reward for information on bomb factories

Black smoke billows at the scene of one blast in Baghdad
Many have asked how bombers evade security checks to carry out attacks

The Iraqi government has said it will give a cash reward for information that prevents bomb attacks.

The cabinet has approved plans to give as much as $85,000 (£52,000) to informants who give up bomb-makers.

The plans were announced by Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who is running for re-election in March.

The government has blamed a series of car bombs in Baghdad and Mosul on the al-Qaeda group and loyalists of former President Saddam Hussein's Baath Party.

A group linked to al-Qaeda has claimed it carried out suicide bombings in August, October and December which together killed at least 272 people.

Informants

At least eight people were killed on Tuesday in co-ordinated bombings in Baghdad and Mosul.

Last week at least 127 were killed and scores wounded when five bombs went off in Baghdad.

The awards would be given to informants who led security forces to the places where bombs were being assembled, Mr Maliki said.

Top defence officials have said bombs are being put together in garages and workshops close to their targets in central Baghdad.

Mr Maliki faced angry lawmakers last week to answer questions about security, and how so many deadly bombs had been allowed through the cordon of checkpoints that is supposed to protect the city.

He blamed political rivals for the security lapses, saying they had blocked the appointment of a new security chief.

The US is planning to withdraw its forces from Iraq following the elections scheduled for March.



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