Baghdad Operations Leadership announced that it was able to kill two members of Al-Qaeda and arrest a third during armed clashes in the Al-Taji area north of Baghdad.
Baghdad Operations Leadership Spokesman Major General Qasim Atta indicated in a press statement to a Mawtani correspondent that the operation came after the Iraqi forces received information from a Sons of Iraq checkpoint in the area. The information reported the presence of Al-Qaeda members trying to prepare an armed attack against Iraqi Army military columns as they passed through the highway that crosses the city.
Immediately after receiving the information, Iraqi Army units took the initiative to send a military force to the area mentioned, after employing a surveillance aircraft to head toward the area and undertake a precise survey of the areas in which the terrorists were present, according to Major General Atta. He explained that the information obtained from the aircraft—via a live video recording relayed from the aircraft to the operations leadership of the northern region of Baghdad—confirmed the presence of an armed group consisting of four individuals in possession of a machine gun and RPGs lying hidden in one of the farms near the highway. In light of the information obtained, the attacking military force took precautionary measures to surround the terrorist cell and avoid any losses in its own ranks. Major General Atta added that “after receiving permission to attack, our forces clashed with the terrorists after taking them by surprise. A heavy exchange of fire took place between the two sides, ending with the killing of two of the terrorists and the wounding of a third. The Iraqi forces were able to arrest him while he was hiding in one of the houses, while the fourth person managed to escape.”
Major General Atta explained that the raiding force took the wounded man to the headquarters of the division after he was given first aid, as he was only suffering from light wounds that did not necessitate a stay in the military hospital of the unit in the Al-Taji area. A military intelligence team began to interrogate him and found that he belonged to an armed cell of Al-Qaeda that was active in launching armed attacks against the Iraqi forces and citizens and stirring up sectarian violence in Al-Taji and neighboring regions. It was also revealed that one of the members of the cell was secretly working in the Sons of Iraq groups to facilitate the launching of their armed attacks, as well as their executions and assassinations of members of the Sons of Iraq.
Major General Atta reported that the attacking force managed to seize a quantity of weapons that was in the possession of the cell, consisting of four Kalashnikov machine guns and two RPGs with two rockets. Also discovered were three explosive devices ready to be planted along the side of the road, to be exploded among military columns.
Major General Atta concluded by saying that the seizure of this quantity of weaponry and the dismantling of the Al-Qaeda terrorist cell averts further injury to the people of the region who have suffered from repeated attacks against civilians.
The elimination of the Al-Qaeda cell active in Al-Taji is considered the latest sign that the existence of remnants of the organization continue to pose a danger to the security of the country, necessitating the increasing of the capabilities of the security forces to enable them to eliminate Al-Qaeda in Iraq.