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  • 28


     
    Italy Unearths Illegal Arms Deal Tied To Baghdad Officials
    News; Posted on: 2007-08-12 10:58:19 [ Printer friendly / Instant flyer ]

    U.S. disclaimsrole in black market scheme

    PERUGIA, Italy: In a hidden corner of Rome's busy Fiumicino Airport, police dug quietly through a traveler's checked baggage, looking for smuggled drugs. What they found instead was a catalog of weapons, a clue to something bigger.

    Their discovery led anti-Mafia investigators down a monthslong trail of telephone and e-mail intercepts, into the midst of a huge black-market transaction, as Iraqi and Italian partners haggled over shipping more than 100,000 Russian-made automatic weapons into the bloodbath of Iraq.



    As the secretive, US$40 million (29.3 million) deal neared completion, Italian authorities moved in, making arrests and breaking it up. But key questions remain unanswered.

    For one thing, The Associated Press has learned that Iraqi government officials were involved in the deal, apparently without the knowledge of the U.S. Baghdad command a departure from the usual pattern of U.S.-overseen arms purchases.

    Full Report

    News Source: IHT

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