US military acknowledges "mistake" in arresting Iraq Sunni leader

US military acknowledges "mistake" in arresting Iraq Sunni leader

[JURIST] US military officials have acknowledged that the arrest Monday of Sunni leader Mohsen Abdel Hamid [JURIST report], head of the Iraqi Islamic Party [official website], was a mistake, and that US forces had confused Hamid with someone else. According to Hamid, American soldiers attacked his Baghdad home, seized him, his three sons and four guards and blindfolded them before transporting them by helicopter to another location for a day-long interrogation. Hamid has urged Sunni Muslims [Wikipedia backgrounder], who lost power with the removal of Saddam Hussein, to cooperate with Iraq's Shiite [Wikipedia backgrounder] community, which now dominates the government, and condemned a surge in sectarian killings. US forces released Hamid after Iraqi government officials, including Prime Minister Ibrahim Jafari [Wikipedia profile], criticized the action. As a Shiite Muslim, Jafari has been negotiating with Sunni leaders to avoid violence between the two sects and has vowed to "demand clear accounting" for Hamid's arrest, stating "No civilian should be arrested without just cause." Read the MNF-Iraq press statement on Hamid's release. AP has more.