Anbar police arrest al-Qaeda 'slaughterer'

Women mourn their dead relatives who were killed by a car bomb explosion in Baghdad in 2012. [Mohammed al-Qaisi/Mawtani]

Women mourn their dead relatives who were killed by a car bomb explosion in Baghdad in 2012. [Mohammed al-Qaisi/Mawtani]

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Iraqi police in Anbar province arrested last week a leading figure within al-Qaeda in Iraq known as the 'slaughterer' and believed to be responsible for beheading several citizens and members of the security forces.

He was captured in Fallujah's Jubail neighbourhood on December 26th.

"A force from the Special Storming Unit, which is part of the Anbar police counter-terrorism bureau, arrested Majeed Khalaf -- known as the 'slaughterer' -- along with four of his aides while they were inside a residential building," said Anbar police chief Maj. Gen. Hadi Erzaij.

"Local residents of the neighbourhood reported to police the presence of Khalaf and four gunmen after one of the residents photographed the gunmen entering the house using his mobile phone camera, and then delivered the footage to the police as evidence," he said.

Erzaij told Mawtani that security forces were able to "encircle the house in record time, evacuate the street in anticipation of clashes that might inflict casualties among the residents, and storm the house, arresting the five gunmen".

"Various weapons and explosives were found in the possession of the gunmen, in addition to documents, pocket-size al-Qaeda books and a list of names --some whom had been killed and others still alive but believed to be among those the gunmen were planning to kill," he said.

"The five gunmen formed an important cell for al-Qaeda, headed by Khalaf," Erzaij added. "They are now in jail [and are facing] interrogation before they are set to face the Iraqi courts to receive their fair punishment in accordance with Article 4 of the Anti-Terrorism Law in Iraq."

Slaughterer' terrorised citizens

Brig. Mohammad Rasheed al-Obaidi, commander of the Anbar Police Rapid Intervention Force, said the suspect was involved in the 2006 killing of 21 civilians inside a car wash station in the al-Saqlawiya district, north of Fallujah.

"Among [the dead] were 12 security men and others who had been accused of blasphemy because they worked at reconstruction projects that at the time were supervised by coalition forces", al-Obaidi said.

Khalaf would often decapitate his victims and set their heads on their chests facing a camera as he chanted slogans, terrorising citizens and local residents, he said.

Al-Obaidi said security personnel also suspect that Khalaf "was involved in the slaughter of six engineers who were working at a government-owned oil company, in addition to dozens of other crimes that made people give him his nickname, 'the slaughterer'."

During the security operation, "the police found 700kg of explosives and 62 small-size magnetic charges, some of which are not bigger than a packet of cigarettes and are used in assassinations", he told Mawtani.

Police also uncovered "weapons equipped with silencers, ammunition of various calibres, swords, hooks used for torture, daggers, and various paper and electronic documents whose contents cannot be divulged because of the continuing investigation", he added.

"The arrest reinforced citizens' trust in security forces, because the 'slaughterer' was a figure that invoked terror among citizens for his savagery," Mohammad Fathi Hantoush, Anbar provincial government spokesperson, told Mawtani.

Hantoush said that Anbar province paid four citizens substantial cash rewards on December 31st for helping security officials capture Khalaf.

'The time for punishment has come'

Meanwhile, family members of the "slaughterer's" victims said that justice would finally be served.

Saad Abdullah, Director of the Cultural Institution in Fallujah, who suspects that his eldest son Bashir, 24, was killed by Khalaf, said, sobbing, "No human can do this. He beheaded my beloved son for no reason except he was working at a trading company, which [al-Qaeda] claimed was supplying the army with food."

"Today, the time for taking punishment on al-Qaeda and the 'slaughterer' has come," he said.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    عمر ابن الانبار العنزي

    2013-4-21

    O God! Grant victory to the oppressed people over the oppressors and I ask God to shake the land beneath the feet of the people of Al-Qaeda.O God! Grant victory to the police of Anbar against their enemies and protect them. I wish that the brothers who participate in the sit-ins would be more careful to protect their demonstrations from the acts of sabotage that spoil them.

  • سيف المعتز

    2013-1-18

    Every morning we expect that the wise and shrewd Iraqi government would be able to say confidently that it succeeded in arresting more of the terrorists. The recent arrested terrorist leader was the leader of Al-Qaeda in Diyala. We expect more and more from the Iraqi government, God willing. We have to admit that any journey starts with a single step. Hence, if the Iraqi state made such a good step and beat, arrested or killed terrorists after attacking their hideouts, Iraq will enjoy security and stability.

  • المنتصر بالله

    2013-1-16

    The local residents of Anbar have cooperated with the Iraqi Army when they attacked terrorism and al-Qaeda which are manufacturing booby-trapped cars. It was certainly a difficult mission but Allah wanted that the outcome of the attack which has been carried out by the Army with the help of the citizens in Anbar to be beneficial so that everyone could feel proud and happy for attacking and arresting the terrorists in their own homes where they have been manufacturing booby-trapped cars.

  • مهر البغدادي

    2013-1-16

    The recent loss of al-Qaeda was accomplished by the killing of its leaders, Al-Baghdadi and Al-Masri, and then by the killing and the arrest of other leaders in Baghdad, Anbar and Salah Ad-Din. This was significant support for the common position that rejects terrorism in Iraq. So, with the growing rejection of violence and crime by the people, the security forces and the allied parties increase their experience, and their blows become more damaging to the terrorist organizations.

  • ناصر 8

    2013-1-16

    The days and years are passing and Iraq remains as it is, trying to address any terrorist action that is threatening the security and the future of the Iraqi people. There is no doubt that Iraq is now recording in every page of her history many terrorist incidents that are threatening her security. These terrorist incidents have become the norm of the Iraqi people’s life. What is most important is the steadfastness of the Iraqi people, their defiance to the crisis and their attempt to reach a solution to save them from these crimes which were and still are in every single day of the people of Iraq. They haven’t left any Iraqi city without making it into a cemetery for its martyrs; but the Iraqi government will not give up until it makes the people get rid of those heinous crimes; but in vain, because the solution is not in her hand. However, the solution comes from the one who has great powers in the country. So, what the Iraqi government has done to contribute to solving this crisis and eliminating terrorism is very important. It has helped the victims of terrorism as they are the victims of those operations; that’s why providing legal aid to these victims is the least thing that we can do for them.

  • abo ahmed

    2013-1-14

    This is the punishment of the killer. He must be killed just like he killed the innocents.

  • محمد الكناني

    2013-1-14

    What is the point of releasing them or even allowing them to escape as the demonstrators demand?

  • عراقي مجهول؟

    2013-1-9

    I greet all the Iraqis and greet the efforts of the Iraqi citizens in providing information that will help in arresting the terrorist elements, which are very hard to catch. However, thanks to those citizens the terrorist elements inside Iraqi have been identified and arrested. Therefore, I demand the Iraqi security forces to execute these terrorist elements in a public square to be an example to those who think of committing any terrorist crime that may affect the future of Iraq and the Iraqis. We thank the Iraqi citizens and we are required to work hand in had in the coming days to get rid of terrorism.

  • مونتي العلواني

    2013-1-8

    The crimes of Al-Qaeda in Iraq are horrible and inhumane. It kills the innocent civilians including women and children without any guilt. The daily bombings in Iraq are disgusting and no one knows the cause of these bombings which aim to nothing but destabilize Iraq at the expense of the people’s souls. Those terrorists are accursed and we ask God to curse all those who kill the civilians, women, or children. I do not know when those terrorists will understand that killing a soul out of the course of justice is prohibited in all religions and Quran. If they take Islam, as a cover, then they must realize that Islam forbade killing souls and spreading the religion at the time of the Prophet, peace be upon him, was through the tolerance rather than the arms and bombings.

  • مجنون الحسين

    2013-1-8

    We do respect all the Iraqi forces because they have already managed to do a very important thing, which is their success in arresting the leaders of Al-Qaeda. This is certainly an achievement and no one can doubt this. Hence, we congratulate them and we congratulate the Iraqi security forces, the Iraqi people, and even ourselves as Arabs because when the good things happen, we will also benefit from them. The success of the Iraqi security forces in arresting those leaders of Al-Qaeda terrorist organization will be the end of this evil dragon or snake, which plots and plans. Now, it is trapped in the Iraqi prisons and it will be trialed and punished fairly. We have been expecting to see this step long time ago, but anyway to come late better than not coming at all. I also hope that this delay would be more beneficial to Iraq. We can conclude that after arresting the leadership of this corrupt regime will make the inferior members lose balance, as they will receive no more instructions, after losing the masterminds. Even if they continued receiving the instructions, then I bet that many of them are weak and would say that if the leadership are arrested and being trialed without any step on part of the organization to help them, then what about us! Those members will think thousands of times before sacrificing themselves or losing their future. Certainly, many of them will leave this extremist entity thanks go God first and then thanks to the efforts of the heroes in the Iraqi security forces.

  • حبيب العراقي

    2013-1-8

    These arrests give a clear message to the world and to all those who might think about harming Iraq and its people. Iraq now has strong men who could defend it. this even makes them stronger and more determined to do their duty in the best way.

  • الموسوي الموسوي

    2013-1-8

    In the name of God the Most Merciful the ever Merciful. The killer will be killed at the end God has said the truth May God curse all those who killed the innocent souls for the sake of Muhammad and his household. May God take revenge on the aggressors and tyrants as well as the mean criminals. We wish that they would receive penalty in this world before the hereafter. May God disgrace them in the present world and the hereafter for the sake of the Commander Of The Believers. The terrorists are financed by the rulers of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey. Amen O Lord of the worlds.

  • بهاء العلي

    2013-1-8

    I swear that you deserve the best. You are true men and lions and congratulate the Iraqi heroes for their great victories over the past years. I ask God to guide all the Iraqi leaders and people to achieve more victories and progress. We all know that the Iraqi people have suffered from the crisis of terrorism, which has threatened and which is still threatening the security and the future of the Iraqis. We still have victims everyday who fall as a result of the horrible crimes of the terrorists. Hence, I see that we have to take care in order to understand that the whole world must realize that the terrorism must have an end soon. I think that the security forces must play a better role in resolving this case. We all know the danger of Al-Qaeda against Iraq. Al-Qaeda always seeks to mass murder the Iraqi security men and civilians. It worth mentioning that the elements of Al-Qaeda target the policemen in Iraq and the police officers in order to prevent them from launching any attack that may kill any member of Al-Qaeda in Iraq. What the security forces did to those terrorists makes us sure that Iraq is in strong and trustworthy hands and that in a short period we could defeat the terrorists. However, this will only happen with the bounty of God and then thanks to the efforts of those Iraqi commanders in addition to the cooperation of the Iraqi people and citizens who report any information about the terrorist organizations such as Al-Qaeda to the security forces. Of course, this helped much in getting rid of them and maintaining the security in Iraq to create a better future.

  • سعيد يحيى

    2013-1-7

    We thank the brave security forces for these specific operations and we thank the honorable citizens who are also keen on protecting the security of their home. The terrorist organizations in general and Al-Qaeda in particular must realize that they will never escape from the hand of justice no matter how long they lived.