BAGHDAD, Iraq (CNN) — Attacks by insurgents continued to shake Iraq on Thursday as the government announced it is establishing an intelligence service to “annihilate” terrorist groups.
Interim Prime Minister Ayad Allawi said Thursday the intelligence network will be called the General Security Directorate.
On Thursday, a car bomb exploded near the main police station in Hadithah in western Iraq, killing 10 Iraqis and injuring 30, an Iraqi Health and Interior Ministry official said. Ten Iraqis were also killed in a car bombing Wednesday.
Four police officers were among those killed Thursday. The attack damaged the police station, a bank and municipal buildings, according to Col. Adnan Abdulrahman with the Interior Ministry. Hadithah is 160 miles (260 km) northwest of Baghdad.
Allawi said at a news conference that despite those attacks and others in the last couple of days, the security situation is improving.
“The march is going to be long and full of pitfalls and challenges, but we have a determination with the help of Allah to win the challenge and we are determined to counter this group of lost souls,” Allawi said.
Allawi attributes improvements in security to “the combined efforts” of ministries and other government institutions.
Also, he said he requested that Oman, Bangladesh, Pakistan, India, Morocco and Egypt “contribute troops to the multinational forces.”
In another security matter, Allawi said capital punishment is still an option because stiff sanctions might be needed that would fairly address the “scale of the crimes” committed by insurgents.
“We respect the European countries and we respect the world,” Allawi said, referring to anti-capital punishment rules and sentiment. “But there is an Iraqi specification. This is a central issue which is the defense of the security of our country.”
New hostage deadline
Egyptian hostage Mohammed al-Gharabawi’s abductors have given his Saudi employer 48 hours to prove it has left Iraq, the Arabic-language network Al-Jazeera reported Thursday.
The group sent a written statement to the network threatening to kill the hostage, a truck driver, if Faisal Al-Nahait Transport Company does not meet the deadline.
The statement added that anyone who collaborates with the U.S.-led coalition in Iraq “won’t be treated kindly, for they are seen as traitors working with the infidel occupiers.”
Al-Jazeera also read a statement Thursday purportedly from militants holding a Filipino truck driver that stated he will be released when “the last Filipino leaves Iraq.”
Al-Jazeera also aired a video of the truck driver, Angelo de la Cruz, a father of eight. Images were seen but his voice was not heard, although a journalist read his purported message. (Full story)
De la Cruz was dressed in civilian clothing, not the orange jumpsuit that hostages are frequently seen wearing. He appeared to be in good health.
Police think body might be abducted Bulgarian
Mosul police think a beheaded body might be one of two Bulgarian truck drivers held hostage by militants in Iraq.
Maj. Gen. Salim al-Haj Esa, the security chief of Ninevah province, told CNN on Thursday that a decapitated body was found on the outskirts of the northern city. He said the body was being handed over to the Interior Ministry in Baghdad.
Diplomatic sources told CNN the body, clad in an orange jumpsuit with bound hands, was thought to be found in the Tigris River by U.S. forces.
DNA tests are being conducted on the body.
The Bulgarian Foreign Ministry has identified the hostages as Ivailo Kepov and Georgi Lazov. They were abducted last week.
Tuesday, Al-Jazeera reported it had received two videotapes, one showing the slaying of a Bulgarian hostage. The other contained a message from the Egyptian hostage.
On Wednesday the police chief of Mosul said his sources confirmed that the two Bulgarians were alive.