Iraqi forces detain official suspected in Shia conspiracy
U.S.-backed Iraqi forces raided the Baghdad office of a senior Health Ministry official on Thursday and detained him on suspicion of conspiring with the Shia militia, the U.S. military said.
A U.S. ministry spokesman identified the man as deputy Health Minister Hakim al-Zamili, accused of being a key player in helping Shia militiamen infiltrate the ministry and kill several government workers.
The U.S.-backed Iraqi forces stormed al-Zamili's office in northern Baghdad and seized him there, the military said.
Al-Zamilihas been implicated in the deaths of Health Ministry officials, including the director-general in Diyala province, northwest of Baghdad, the military added in its statement.
One of al-Zamili's bodyguards told the Associated Press he heard gunshots in the Health Ministry compound and that a U.S. soldier informed al-Zamili he was on a list of wanted names before handcuffing him.
Al-Zamili, a supporter of radical Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, reportedly masterminded kickback schemes to funnel millions of dollars to Shia militiamen who are blamed for spurring sectarian violence in Baghdad, according to the Associated Press.
The military also said the official was suspected of providing large-scale employment of militia members and giving access to Health Ministry facilities for "sectarian kidnapping and murder."
The raid comes a day after Maj.-Gen. William Caldwell, the chief military spokesman in Iraq, said a security plan to stop the rampant attacks in the capital was underway.
With files from the Associated Press