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Homeland Security Advisory

January 29, 2005

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Upcoming Elections Represent "Historic Moment" Iraqi Minister Says

By Gerry J. Gilmore
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, Jan. 28, 2005 – Iraq's Jan. 30 elections mark
"the beginning of the
end of the miseries and difficulties that the people of
Iraq have endured for
so many decades," Iraq's interim deputy prime minister told
Pentagon reporters
today during a videoconference from Baghdad.

The elections will select 275 assembly members who will
write Iraq's new

The interim Iraqi government has implemented several
emergency procedures to
enhance public safety during the voting period, observed
Barham Salih. They
include closing the borders and airports, imposing a
countrywide evening
curfew, placing a ban on civilian-carried weapons, and
declaring Jan. 29-31
public holidays.

"No weapons may be carried by civilians on the 30th of
January, even if they own
weapons cards," Salih said, noting there will also be
restrictions on vehicle
traffic during the election period.

Iraqi and multinational security services have labored over
the past month "to
make sure that we disrupt the ability of the terrorists to
destabilized the
political process," he said.

The deputy prime minister announced that Iraqi security
forces recently seized
another close associate of Jordanian terrorist Abu Musab al
Zarqawi. The new
detainee, he noted, "served as a military adviser to
high-ranking Zarqawi
affiliates and assisted in financing terrorist operations
in Baghdad."

Salih said the recent detainee joins two other suspected
senior terrorists
caught in Iraq in recent weeks. During the past two months,
he observed, Iraqi
security forces have picked up "at least a dozen senior
Zarqawi associates."

More than 20 other suspected Zarqawi network operatives
have been rounded up as
part of a national dragnet that has led to the arrest and
questioning of nearly
2,000 suspects over the past two weeks, Salih said.

Iraqi citizen-provided tips precipitated most of the
arrests, the deputy prime
minister noted. It is important, Salih emphasized, that
Iraqi citizens and
government agencies work together "to eradicate this
terrorist plague and make
sure that Iraq will be a safe and secure place, not only
for the elections, but


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