Joint Iraqi and US forces arrest 'al-Qaeda amir of eastern Iraq'

[Warrick Page/Getty Images] Iraqi security forces are proceeding to take down another 20-member terrorist cell.

[Warrick Page/Getty Images] Iraqi security forces are proceeding to take down another 20-member terrorist cell.

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Iraqi forces arrested the "al-Qaeda amir of eastern Iraq" and his aide in the area of al-Saadiyah in northeast Diyala province, officials announced Monday (July 19th).

Ahmed al-Zarkushi, director of al-Saadiyah sub-district, told Mawtani that a joint force from Iraqi Army's 1st Regiment, 2nd Rapid Reaction Brigade, and US forces arrested the suspects during a raid on an al-Qaeda headquarters.

Al-Zarkushi said one of the detainees was "in charge of al-Qaeda's operations in the eastern cities of Iraq. His name is Sheikh Zaid Hamid al-Karawi, and he was arrested while hiding in the house's water closet. He was carrying a fake identification card."

Al-Karawi is accused of assassinating and kidnapping 52 people, carrying out over eight bombings, damaging the province's infrastructure, and extorting money from citizens and contractors.

"Al-Karawi has confessed to having committed eight other operations, the most prominent of which is the execution of a six-member family in al-Saadiyah sub-district two years ago," al-Zarkushi said.

The joint force also arrested al-Karawi's suspected aide, Laith Hameed.

Al-Zarkushi noted the important US role in the operation. "US forces carried out an airdrop operation that facilitated the arrest of the terrorist and his aide."

Diyala police spokesperson Maj. Ghalib al-Karkhi said al-Karawi also confessed the location of a headquarters for a 20-member terrorist cell in the province. "Security forces are now quickly proceeding with intelligence maneuvers and analyzing information urgently to arrest the 20 terrorists," he said.

"We hope that the next days will carry happy news from the security forces about the arrest of the new terrorists," al-Karkhi said.

Diyala Governor Abdul Nassir al-Mahdawi told Mawtani, "The secret behind the repeated successes of the Iraqi forces is the cooperation of tribes of different sects and ethnicities with the security forces, in addition to the experience of the army and police forces operating in the province."

Al-Mahdawi said the arrest of al-Karawi and his aide is "a new victory for Iraqis in general, and for the people of the eastern region of Iraq in particular, given that the terrorism of al-Qaeda was affecting their lives in a direct way."

Citizens in Diyala expressed relief with the news.

"Only those who were with us and lived through the past years here can imagine the extent of our happiness with the arrest of those terrorists," said Mukhtar Salah, 32, a resident of Baqubah. "That terrorist used to suck life out of our streets and was killing the happiness of our children."

"The arrest of terrorists in this humiliating way sends out a message to all other terrorists that they are going to meet a similar fate," Salah said.

Farja Ali, 46, another resident of Baqubah, shared similar sentiments. "We hope that the arrested people will be punished in the same way they killed citizens and that they will receive a similar judgment as they did to innocent people -- in other words, death," she said.

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  • READER COMMENTS

    اسماعيل محمد

    2010-8-12

    The announcement made about the arrest of the Emir of the eastern regions means a lot to Iraqis, to the government, and to all elements of security. The arrest of a criminal person from al-Qaeda, especially the prince of the eastern regions, means the collapse of a large portion of this organization. I believe that the security forces have become aware of what to do and how to deal with terrorism in Iraq intelligently. If the security forces continued fighting against the terrorist elements, there would be no benefit from this. Rather, they must continue to strike the organization with an iron fist, by eliminating the leaders and important elements, who are considered the essential parts of this organization. This is what will weaken and eradicate terrorism easily.

  • أبو ناصر

    2010-8-10

    Al Qaeda controls the eastern regions of Iraq, due to their closeness to its main financier, which is Iran, which is adjacent to the eastern regions of Iraq, and it wants to control Diyala governorate in particular, to facilitate the crossing of terrorists via this area. We should also not forget that the Baathist cadres are mainly located in this province. Hence, an intensive presence of Al Qaeda in the province is logical, and the Iraqi government must move quickly to eliminate these terrorist elements in the eastern regions, where the leader of Al Qaeda was arrested in a raid targeting the hideout of a terrorist organization by joint forces from the Iraqi army and the friendly forces. This area is the home of many terrorists, including the leader of Al Qaeda in the eastern regions of Iraq, and there are many weapons there as well.

  • حسين عبد العباس

    2010-7-25

    The security services’ operations to arrest terrorists and wanted people are good and consistent proof of the security forces’ follow-up to eliminate terrorism and terrorists everywhere. Such matters will, first of all, help increase people's confidence in the ability and strength of the security forces, and will also promote safety and security in the region, the province and the country in general. The operations carried out by the security forces are difficult and dangerous and they have led to the fall of may martyrs in order to achieve the security of the people of Iraq, who have suffered successive horrors of wars and corrupt governments that tampered with the people’s destiny and the future of the country. Onward, brave heroes of the new Iraq.

  • ابن راوة

    2010-7-23

    Building the Iraqi Army is important and necessary, because it is in fact the reconstruction of Iraq as a whole. However, this should take place properly in terms of training, qualification, and armament, away from any affiliations. Whoever belongs to this army must be loyal, only to Iraq and to no one else. That is because the army is responsible for protecting Iraq and the safety of its land, water, and sky. All elements of the army must be efficient, well educated, and ready to sacrifice everything in defense of their homeland. They should also cooperate with the people and citizens, because they are responsible for protecting them, rather than intimidating them, as was the case in the past, when the military was used for the personal purposes of the Baath Party and its leaders. Today, no one can use the army for his own benefit or control it as he wishes. The army today, with its current structure, cannot be subjected to such pressures from any influential personality or government official. That is because the army is exclusively loyal to the homeland, not to any person. The army also has control over Iraq from north to south and from east to west in order to eliminate terrorism in Iraq. In order to have full control, the army should end all armed manifestations that exist in Iraq under any name. Weapons must be only in the hands of the army, and no other institution can carry arms. In this way, the army will perform its duties completely, as it is the institution that is responsible for defending Iraq against terrorism.

  • عصام

    2010-7-23

    The work of the Ministry of the Interior in the past period was very good. It exerted strenuous efforts to maintain security in the country and to confront the terrorist elements and gangs, and to arrest many of them, in addition to its commitment to graduating groups of police officers from the Iraqi ‎Police College and preparing them professionally. The ministry also exerted great efforts to qualify and train its personnel and to establish criteria for the selection of applicants to the Ministry of the Interior, which attracts and convinces many young Iraqis to joint its ranks and work at its institutions to defend Iraq against the saboteurs and terrorists, as well as to bring peace and security to the country. The currently stable security situation in Iraq and Baghdad means a great victory and a success for the Iraqi Interior Ministry, which has built strong bridges of trust between its personnel and the Iraqi citizens, after getting rid of the infiltrators and the elements that were working on sowing the seeds of sectarianism or who work for the benefit of their parties, regardless of the interests of Iraq or Iraqis. The Ministry of Interior dismissed such officials and elements, and started directing its services and personnel to serve the citizen exclusively.

  • معتز

    2010-7-21

    Many families have lost their children, sons, daughters, heads of the families, and other members because of the terrorist acts. The terrorist attacks have killed many Iraqis, including young and old citizens, as well as children and women who belong to families and whose families have lost them, without them being guilty of anything. They have lost their lives in the cowardly acts of terrorism, which killed these innocents though car bombs, explosives and mortars, which were fired randomly against innocent people, with the aim of intimidating and terrorizing the Iraqi street. However, the Iraqi street soon realized the objectives ‎of the acts of terrorism and decided just to ignore them and continue in their normal lives and usual activities without any fear or laziness. The Iraqis realized that this is the only thing that will defeat terrorism. Everyone has felt sorry for the families of the martyrs, as they have lost their children or a member of the family because of the terrorist acts and without being guilty of anything other than being Iraqi. At that time, this disaster afflicted many families that had lost their children in terrorist acts. Nevertheless, those martyrs have paved the road to victory with their blood. Today, it is the duty of every Iraqi citizen to console these families and share their grief. Likewise, the government should compensate them for this loss because of terrorism, provide them with a decent life, and help them live with dignity, especially that some families have lost their sole breadwinners. The government’s compensation to these families and allowing them to lead an honorable life is a beautiful thing ‎and a good stand that will support these families. However, we should always remember that this is a simple move, because they deserve more.

  • داخل العراقي

    2010-7-21

    Some neighboring countries, such as Iran, try to destroy Iraq by exporting these poisons in larger quantities than ever to Iraq, and spreading them among the adolescents and youth. The problem of drugs is not new, but it has become worse because it is now considered a hostile act by the neighboring countries against Iraq. As we know, the enemy is trying to destroy Iraq, either by sending the terrorist infiltrators to us, or by destroying Iraq's youth with the use of illegal drugs. Gangs of organized crime promote this trade in some Iraqi cities. Hence, we support our security forces in their merciless strikes against all criminals and drug dealers.