Iraqi police, supported by occupation forces, arrested scores of people who had holed up in a mosque in the Shiite holy city of Karbala, a spokesman for the occupation troops said Tuesday.
He said authorities were seeking to determine whether the detainees were linked to cleric Moqtada Sadr, whose supporters were involved in clashes with more moderate Shiites that left at least one person dead last week.
Iraqi police and a recently formed force to protect Karbala's religious shrines, backed by occupation troops, "located criminals in a mosque in Karbala," Captain Ivan Morgan said.
"They issued a final statement for the criminals to leave the mosque," he said, adding that the men surrendered peacefully at about midnight (2100 GMT) on Monday.
"The number of detainees is being confirmed," said Morgan.
"We know they are part of criminal groups but we cannot confirm they are related with Sadr. We won't be sure until investigations are completed," AFP cited Morgan as saying.
In Tikrit, CNN said that the U.S. military police forces stormed two houses Monday and arrested a man believed to be the brother of a supporter of former President Saddam Hussein and one of the masterminds of attacks against American forces. (Albawaba.com)
© 2003 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com )