Suspect held in Iraqi taekwondo team murders
Officials in Iraq have anounced the arrest in Anbar of a man suspected of abducting and killing all fifteen members of the national taekwondo team. The fifteen sportsmen were ambushed in May 2006.
The team was traveling in convoy towards Jordan to attend a training camp when they were stopped by gunmen. The skeletal remains of thirteen of them were recovered near the highway the following year and the other two remain missing. The attack occurred near Khalidiyah between Fallujah and Ramadi.
US forces and Iraqi commandos made the joint arrest on September 24 and it was announced yesterday. There are no details released on the suspect, but he is reported to have possible links with other terror attacks.
The US military did not state in their announcement how they identified the suspect. Victims’ relatives have said they are pleased at the news. “We are still overwhelmed by sadness and bitterness, but the arrest of one of the killers will bring some relief to us,” said victim Ahmed Ali’s cousin Ali Hussein Hamid.
Sportsplayers and officials were regularly targeted by insurgents in 2006 and 2007. According to Chelsea Carter writing for the Associated Press, the slaying of the taekwondo team “became one of the symbols of Iraq’s lawlessness during its worse years of sectarian violence.”