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Iraq Arrests Security Personnel for Sunday's Deadly Explosions

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Baghdad's top government security official has announced the arrest of close to a dozen officers and around 50 members of Iraq's security forces for alleged involvement or negligence in Sunday's suicide bombings in the Iraqi capital.

Iraqi TV reported that Major General Qasim Atta, acting as a military spokesman for the Iraqi capital, announced the arrests of 11 officers and 50 members of the military and police for alleged responsibility or negligence in Sunday's attacks in Baghdad.

About 155 people were killed and hundreds of others wounded in the massive explosions that rocked the Iraqi capital, gutting two government ministries and blowing out windows across the entire center of the city.

The explosions, which killed dozens of children near the government-controlled Green Zone, provoked widespread outrage. Several opposition members of parliament called on top ministers to resign and called on Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to testify to parliament about security lapses.

General Atta, who had spoken only recently of the improving security situation in Iraq, announced the crackdown to journalists. He said that both the military commander and the police chief of Baghdad's Salhiya district, site of Sunday's explosions, were under arrest, pending investigation.

He also noted that the two were arrested, among others, because they were personally responsible for security in the devastated area. Atta would not be pinned down, however, as to whether the men were guilty of collusion with the bombers or just negligence.

He added that other security officials would also be arrested if a government investigation "reveals that they were negligent or helped the insurgents."

Major General Othman Ali Farhoud, commander of Iraq's Eighth Division, also tried to reassure the Iraqi public that his men are trying to crack down on all insurgents involved in blasts and explosions in different parts of the country:

He says that the commanders of the (Iraqi Army) Eighth Division are conducting raids in many areas, trying to arrest all those who are flouting the law and possessing illegal weapons. He stresses that not a day goes by that his men don't arrest at least two or three people in every province for such acts and that his forces will continue to crackdown on all resistance members and insurgents plotting attacks.

Iraqi Foreign Minister Houshiar Zubari said that he and his ministry would cooperate fully with the United Nations delegation being sent to Iraq to investigate foreign involvement in terrorism inside the country.

Sunday's bombings were the worst attacks in Iraq in over two years. They follow similar bloody explosions in the center of Baghdad in August, which also left widespread carnage.