Tuesday, September 29, 2009
Arrest in Case of Murdered Athletes in Iraq from 2006
September 27, 2009 BAGHDAD — The United States military said Sunday that American and Iraqi troops had arrested a suspect in the murders of at least 13 members of the Iraqi national tae kwon do team in 2006, in a possible resolution of a case that was among the more vexing crimes at the height of Iraq’s sectarian warfare. The team and its coaches were traveling from Baghdad to Jordan in May 2006 to attend a training camp and try to get visas to the United States for a tournament in Las Vegas. All 15 people, and the two sport utility vehicles they were in, vanished between the cities of Falluja and Ramadi in Anbar Province, which at the time was at the center of the Sunni Arab insurgency. The team members were all Shiites from the Baghdad neighborhood of Sadr City. More than a year later, in June 2007, the skeletal remains of 13 people, along with tattered track suits and identification cards, were discovered in the desert between Falluja and Ramadi. Iraqi officials later announced that the bodies were those of the athletes. The bodies of two people have never been found. The suspect, whose name has not been released, was arrested on Thursday by members of the Iraqi special forces and their American military advisers, according to a statement by the United States military in Iraq. It was not clear what had led the authorities to him, but security forces had obtained a warrant for the man’s arrest in a magistrate court in Karma, another city in Anbar, the military said. The suspect is believed to have taken part in other crimes as well, the statement said. In another development, a suicide car bomber killed 3 policemen and wounded 10 others in Ramadi on Sunday morning when he drove his vehicle into a checkpoint outside the city’s main police station and detonated his explosives, said an Iraqi police officer who requested anonymity because he was not permitted to speak to reporters.