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Iraq Blames Rogue Militia Elements, Al-Qaida for Grisly Killings

Iraq's top security official says the latest wave of grisly killings in Baghdad is aimed at demoralizing Iraqi security forces and frightening Iraqi people. Also, he spoke about the Iraqi government's plan to surround Baghdad with trenches and other fortifications to help keep insurgents out.

Iraqi National Security Adviser Mowaffak al-Rubaie said organized criminals and sectarian conflicts are partially responsible for the more than 150 dead bodies found in Baghdad last week. But he said al-Qaida terrorists in Iraq are also to blame.

"Basically, they [al Qaida] are trying to create a maximum psychological impact by showing these horrible crimes, decapitation, killing, execution-style killing, mysterious killing and mutilation," said Mowaffak al-Rubaie. "This is al-Qaida using this tactic to try to demoralize our Iraqi security forces, and also to frighten the local people in Baghdad."

He made the comments Sunday in an interview with CNN's Late Edition program. When asked about the Iraqi government's plan to dig trenches around Baghdad to restrict insurgents and explosive-laden cars from easily accessing the capital, al-Rubaie said the physical barrier already exists.

"It's soil and it's river and it's some trenches, as well," he said. "It's already built during the old regime, around Baghdad. Basically, we're making use of that to try to impede and impair the movement, basically, making the movement of terrorists coming from outside Baghdad, to inside Baghdad, to make it more difficult."

Meanwhile, the Iraqi National Security Adviser said there have been positive developments in Baghdad that have been overshadowed by the more horrible news. He said this includes what he described as "good news," with the government's Baghdad security plan, which was implemented several weeks ago.

"And a lot of neighborhoods, we went in very peacefully," noted al-Rubaie. "We injected cash in the local economy. We created jobs in there. We've done a cleaning out of the street. We've done a lot of beautification of this neighborhood, and provided extra services, like extra hours of electric power and clean water, and so on and so forth."

He said combined Iraqi security forces, including the army and police, number 300,000. He added that Iraq is well on its way to reaching its goal of having a 325,000-strong security force by the end of the year.

Although Iraq has given no timetable for international troops to leave the country, al-Rubaie said a delegation from his agency is heading to Iraq's relatively peaceful Kurdish region to negotiate the withdrawal of foreign forces from there.