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Iraq's 'Falcon Cell' leader removed amid accusations of suspicious links

The replacing of a top intelligence official whose unit had been responsible for many key arrests signals further efforts to centralize control of Iraq's intelligence services.
A picture shows the scene of a twin suicide bombing on a bustling commercial street in the heart of Baghdad on January 21, 2021. - The toll in a twin suicide bombing in an open-air Baghdad market morning topped 20 dead and 40 wounded, an interior ministry official told AFP. The ministry said the first suicide bomber had rushed into the market and claimed to feel sick, so that people would gather around him. He then detonated his explosives. (Photo by Sabah ARAR / AFP) (Photo by SABAH ARAR/AFP via Getty Imag

BAGHDAD — A massive double suicide attack in the Iraqi capital Jan. 21 was followed by the removal of several high-ranking intelligence and Interior Ministry officials.

One, in particular, stood out: the replacement of the man who had led Iraq’s super-secretive Falcon Intelligence Cell since its inception, known as Abu Ali al-Basri.

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