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FBI to Investigate Jordan Embassy Blast in Baghdad - 2003-08-09


Agents with the U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation are joining the probe of Thursday's deadly bomb blast outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad. The bombing killed 17 people and wounded dozens more.

Coalition Provisional Authority chief Paul Bremer says the FBI has been brought in to probe a powerful car bomb explosion that took place Thursday outside the Jordanian Embassy in Baghdad.

"There actually were some FBI agents already in Iraq, who have begun working under the general direction of the Iraqi police in this investigation," he said. "The Iraqi police retain the authority and jurisdiction in this matter. It is a crime on Iraqi soil, and it therefore falls under the Iraqi police to investigate and eventually the Iraqi courts to prosecute anybody who is caught. They have asked for the FBI's assistance in the forensic analysis of the case."

Some coalition officials say the attack bears the hallmarks of an al-Qaida-style terror group. Mr. Bremer, who has been involved in counter-terrorism for the past 20 years, said several groups are suspected, including the terrorist group Ansar al-Islam, which the United States accuses of having links to al-Qaida.

"Among the terrorist groups we are concerned about, Ansar al-Islam is certainly high on list," stressed Mr. Bremer. "We have other terrorists in this country, as we have found [in] our military operations, our interrogations and our intelligence. But it is also possible that some of the groups, which have been responsible for attacks against Coalition forces, some of the Fedayeen Saddam, elements of the former intelligence services, some of the Baathists who are not accepting the new Iraq, it is possible some of them could have conducted this kind of attack."

Meanwhile, a group of men who said they belonged to previously unheard of Islamic groups claimed responsibility for recent attacks on U.S. troops in Baghdad. In a videotape broadcast on the al-Arabiya satellite television channel, the masked men called for further attacks, saying such assaults are the only way to free the country of occupation.

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