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US camp in Iraq was Qaeda breeding ground, say ex-inmates

Iraq's Camp Bucca, the US-run jail where around 100,000 prisoners were kept over six years, was a breeding ground for the Al-Qaeda terror network, according to police and former inmates.

world Updated: Nov 15, 2009 09:58 IST

Iraq's Camp Bucca, the US-run jail where around 100,000 prisoners were kept over six years, was a breeding ground for the Al-Qaeda terror network, according to police and former inmates.

Bucca, located in an isolated desert north of the border with Kuwait, was a school for scores of Takfiris, or
Sunni extremists who usually ended up in Al-Qaeda, said Abu Mohammed, freed in 2008 after 26 months behind its bars.

"The illiterate and straight-forward people were the easiest prey for indoctrination," said the 32-year-old
resident of Ramadi, the former insurgency stronghold 100 kilometres west of Baghdad.

Opened after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, Camp Bucca was the biggest detention centre in Iraq housing up to
22,000 prisoners in 2007.

At its closing on September 17 this year, there were only 8,000 inmates who were transferred to Camp Cropper in
Baghdad and Camp Taji, north of the capital.

"The two suicide bombers and the majority of suspects detained after the twin bombings of August 19 against the
foreign affairs and finance departments, which killed 95, were released shortly before from Camp Bucca," a senior interior
ministry official told AFP.

Captain Brad Kimberly, spokesman for the US prisons authority in Iraq, told AFP that "to date, we've not received
any evidence suggesting a former detainee may be involved in either attack."