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09HILLAH6 2009-01-23 15:23:00 CONFIDENTIAL REO Hillah
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1. (C) On January 20 a Baghdad investigative team arrived in
Babil to take the lead in the investigation into the
assassination of Haytem Al-Husseiny, Da'wa's number two
candidate for election to the PC. The Baghdad team is led by
officials from the PM's office -- apparently the CTB -- but also
includes MOD and MOI officials too, according to a senior ISF
office and a senior Da'wa official.

2. (C) The Mahawil Police Chief was relieved of his command on
21 January. Although he himself has not been accused of a role
in the assassination, three officers under his command in the
Jabella sub-distrcit are suspected of having played a role in
the assassination and remain in detention (reftels). Meanwhile,
Da'wa Deputy Chairman Dr. Neama Jassim clarified a statement
carried by the Iraqi media in which he was quoted as saying that
the terrorists who killed Al-Husseiny had ties to the Iraqi
security forces. Dr. Jassim told the PRT that the only
ISF/terrorist ties that are suspected involve the three Jabella

3. (C) The SWAT police commander believes that the wide-scale
round up of largely Sunni citizens following the 16 January
killing has been heavy handed and has damaged the confidence of
the Sunni community in the ISF. MG Abdul Ameer's 19 January
private assertion that the focus of the investigation was three
known Sunni civilian extremists (Ref B), two of whom he claimed
had been detained, was denied on 21 January by PDoP BG Fadhil
Raddad. In the view of SWAT Commander Abbas, the ISF does not
have credible leads on the perpetrators. He said both the Army
and Police were finding convenient targets at which to point an
accusatory finger, and that the Sunni activists mentioned
earlier by Abdul Ameer had severed their ties to terrorists in

2007. He did not exclude the possibility, however, that Sunni
grievances against Al-Husseiny, who reportedly led Shia reprisal
attacks on Sunnis in 2006/07, may have motivated some local
citizens to kill him. In any event, the attack was well planned
and coordinated.

4. (C) Dawa officials in Babil continue to express confidence in
the conduct of the investigation, which is not surprising now
that it is being run by a secret unit subordinate to the PM's