Iraqi forces have arrested 11 alleged Al-Qaeda members said to be responsible for attacks in the southern province of Basra that killed dozens of people, a top police officer said on Tuesday.
"Eleven criminals from Al-Qaeda have been arrested, including a Pakistani man who was born in Kuwait, who are responsible for recent explosions in Basra," Major General Faisal al-Ebadi, police chief of Basra, told a news conference.
A video played during the news conference showed alleged confessions of the detainees, in which they said they were responsible for attacks, including one on January 14 against Shiite pilgrims that left 53 people dead.
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Ebadi said that the arrests were carried out in coordination with intelligence agents and others security forces.
One of the detainees is a policeman named Issam Abdelal Yassin who gave "information about the locations of police officers to facilitate assassinating them," Ebadi said.
A Pakistani born in Kuwait named Mahmud Mohammed Abdullah was also among the detainees.
In the tape, he admitted to involvement in an attack on a Shiite place of worship and two attacks in markets in Basra, and to placing explosives targetting Shiite pilgrims.
He said he came to Iraq in 2003, and was held at the US Camp Bucca military installation from 2004 to 2005, but was later released.