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Iraqi health minister alleges wrongful arrests, theft by US troops

[JURIST] Ali al-Shemri, head of Iraq's Ministry of Health [official website], alleged Sunday that US troops wrongfully detained five members of his personal security force and stole their salaries during an early morning raid of the Health Ministry Building. An anonymous coalition official said the raid was conducted following a tip related to a kidnapping. Al-Shemri denied allegations that the ministry has sheltered militant Shiites loyal to cleric Moqtada al-Sadr [CFR profile].

Al-Shemri said that breaches like Sunday's raid "take place on a nearly daily basis" and the Ministry of Health would cease all cooperation with US forces and would request assistance from humanitarian organizations to protect medical institutions from "the US army's violations." Al-Shemri also demanded an apology, the release of the arrested guards, an investigation into the raid, and that the US cease all raids of health facilities. Senior Iraqi officials have objected to aggressive American search tactics on prior occasions. AFP has more.

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