Iraqi Interior Minister Baker Jaber Solagh said in comments to the Saudi daily al-Sharq al-Awsat Monday that at least 3,000 "terrorists" had infiltrated his ministry's security institutions, including a major general in the police force, and who were involved in theft and kidnapping operations.
He revealed also that 500 suspected terrorists, including Arabs from various nationalities, and Europeans of Arab origin, had been arrested for carrying out terrorist attacks.
In another development, Prime Minister Ibrahim Jaafari vowed to conduct an investigation into the U.S. attack on a Shiite mosque in which 20 worshippers were killed Sunday.
Jaafari's spokesman Abdel Razzak al-Kazimi said the premier ordered an immediate investigation into the incident, and contacted Iraqi and U.S. officials for that purpose.
Transportation Minister Salam Maliki, a supporter of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr's movement, denounced the U.S. air raid on the mosque in the neighborhood of Ur in east Baghdad as a "criminal act," charging that "there is a conspiracy against al-Sadr's followers."
Maliki was quoted by the official Iraqi television as saying "it is a ring in a circle of continued violence and killings targeting our Iraqi people."