Iraqi security forces killed an alleged al-Qaeda leader and arrested 16 other suspected terrorists in Ninawa and Babel provinces, officials announced Wednesday (March 30th).
Brig. Gen. Abdul Kareem al-Jubouri, spokesperson for Ninawa Operations Command, said security forces killed "a leader of the terrorist al-Qaeda organization" and captured nine wanted suspects during clashes on Monday (March 28th) in Mansour neighborhood, south of Mosul.
Al-Jubouri told Mawtani that Iraqi police were conducting a routine search operation in the neighborhood when they came under gunfire from a nearby house. The force requested assistance from the Iraqi Army, which successfully cleared the area of civilians before engaging the shooters.
"The terrorist al-Qaeda leader, known as Yunus Shehatha, who is an emir of al-Qaeda in the Mansour neighborhood south of Mosul, was killed. Nine other terrorists were detained after five of them were wounded by the fire from security forces," he added.
Al-Jubouri said among the detainees were four men of Syrian nationality who had illegally entered Iraq a few weeks earlier.
The clashes resulted in the death of one member of the Iraqi security forces.
Capt. Suhail al-Qaraghouli of Ninawa provincial police told Mawtani that, "Iraqi security forces were in control of the security situation in the province after eliminating the armed rebellion in less than half an hour."
In Babel province, security forces announced the arrest of seven suspected members of terrorists cells linked to al-Qaeda.
Speaking at a press conference at the police command in al-Hilla, Maj. Gen. Fadhil Raddad al-Sultani said Iraqi police and army forces received intelligence from citizens in Mussayeb and Iskandaria regarding suspicious activity at two houses in the area.
Security forces raided the two houses and arrested the seven suspects.
"The two cells are involved in terrorist operations targeting security personnel and former al-Sahwa members, in addition to planting improvised explosive devices (IEDs) and firing rocket missiles at Iraqi military targets," al-Sultani said.
Al-Sultani praised the citizens for collaborating with security services and informing them about suspicious activities.
Col. Ghanim Abdullah al-Musawi, spokesperson for Babel military operations, told Mawtani that "the raiding force was able to storm the two houses and detain all the terrorists very quickly, and this is evidence of the remarkable development of Iraqi forces."
The force confiscated 34 IEDs, 63 mortar rounds and five magnetic sticky bombs in the two houses, in addition to communications devices, SIM cards for mobile telephones, and documents containing telephone numbers and addresses that are currently being investigated.
"Security operations have now become easier and swifter for police and army forces, and security personnel now have perfected their work much better than before, such as in drafting plans, speed of execution, protecting civilians and reducing losses," al-Musawi said. "This is due to training and acquiring expertise with the passage of time."