Monday, April 09, 2007

Leading Sunni lawmaker al-Ilyan denies weapons cache, accuses Iran, Iraqi government of setup

Left: A widely-published photo of the aftermath of the boming of a U.S. dining facility in Mosul in 2004, such as that described in U.S. military statment on the raid, which said: "An initial search of the home revealed an anti-coalition calendar, photos of burning British soldiers, photos of the 2004 Mosul dining facility bombing and photos of American flag-draped coffins." The military also said it found machineguns, assault rifles, sub-machineguns, pistols, eight rockets, bomb-making materials, 5,000 rounds of ammunition and mortar bombs.

AMMAN, Jordan – An Iraqi Sunni lawmaker denied Monday that he had stashed weapons in his Baghdad home and accused the Iraqi government and Iran of trying to discredit him because of his criticism of state policies.

Khalaf al-Ilyan spoke to The Associated Press one day after an Iraqi military spokesman said U.S. and Iraqi troops had found a huge stash of weapons in his home and arrested more than a dozen men.

Al-Ilyan, who is recovering from knee surgery in Jordan, accused the Shiite-led government of a smear campaign against him. He said if there were weapons at his home, the Shiite-led security forces must have planted them.

“Government authorities search my house twice a week. How can I stash away weapons there? How can I hide weapons there? Am I that foolish to do that when there are so many areas in Iraq where weapons could be concealed?” al-Ilyan said.

Read the rest at the San Diego Tribune

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