Iraqi forces arrest suspected al-Qaeda leader in Ninawa

Army and police forces made the arrests during a raid on a house in an agricultural area near Mosul. [Damir Sagolj / Reuters]

Army and police forces made the arrests during a raid on a house in an agricultural area near Mosul. [Damir Sagolj / Reuters]

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Iraqi police in Ninawa province detained a suspected al-Qaeda leader and four other members during a raid on Saturday (April 2nd).

"The leader in the terrorist al-Qaeda organization is a Syrian national and is considered one of 15 well-known, top al-Qaeda leaders in the province, who was responsible for carrying out scores of terrorist operations," said Lt. Col. Abdullah Ghani al-Hamdani, director of public relations and media at the Ninawa police directorate.

Iraqi courts issued arrest warrants for the suspected leader, Ibrahim Salah al-Hassan, and two of his aides last September. They were accused of carrying out terrorist attacks and mass killings.

During Saturday's raid, Iraqi police arrested al-Hassan, his two aides, and three other suspects at a house in an agricultural area near the town of Badoush, 25 kilometers north of Mosul.

A brigade from the Iraqi Army's second division supported the operation by launching a surprise attack on the house. None of the suspects resisted arrest or tried to escape.

Security forces transported the suspects to a security detention center for interrogation. Al-Hamdani said Iraqi forces released one detainee after confirming his identity and determining he was not involved with the other five suspects.

"Al-Hassan and his aides took farming as a cover and they were using agricultural machinery to transport explosives to the outskirts of nearby cities," al-Hamdani said.

Inside the house, Iraqi forces found 320 kilograms of C-4 and TNT explosives, ammunition for light and medium weapons, five rifles and three silencer-equipped pistols.

An engineering unit removed the explosives and transported them to an army camp. The unit also surveyed the surrounding areas to ensure that no weapons or explosives were hidden underground for later use by terrorists.

Capt. Suhail al-Qaraghouli of Mosul city police told Mawtani, "The detainees are charged with killing a number of Christian students at Mosul University, detonating explosives, firing rockets, and participating in three car bomb attacks last year in neighborhoods and population centers in Mosul and the Qayyara sub-district."

Khamis Jassem, a member of the Badoush local council, told Mawtani that information provided by citizens helped security forces arrest al-Hassan and his aides.

"For a while now, a new culture has prevailed of informing security forces about any person who raises a scant level of doubt or makes suspicious movements," he said. "Citizens ask the army to check the person by providing specific and accurate data on him, and that is what happened in the arrest of al-Hassan."

Jassem said he hopes this culture becomes the norm not just among Iraqis in Mosul, but among all Iraqis "to protect themselves and avoid an inevitable catastrophe, and to eliminate terrorism quickly".

Iraqi authorities encourage citizens to call (130) or (104) to report any suspicious activities or to give information about weapons caches that terrorists could use to carry out attacks.

Jassim said the army and police "handle the identity of the persons providing the information with the utmost secrecy".

Waleed Mohammad, 31, a resident of Badoush, said Iraqis are resolved to continue fighting terrorism.

"Al-Qaeda and the militias should know that their fate is imprisonment or death regardless of how long it may take because Iraqis outnumber and are stronger than them," he said.

"We are more optimistic about the future. We no longer have any doubt over the ability of the security forces to establish security and peace in Iraq after the withdrawal of American forces."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    شيماء محمود

    2012-8-1

    Terrorism and its deeds from the sins to the violent crimes on the territory of Iraq stunned and surprised the minds and the hearts of the people all over the world. In the recent years, the Iraqi citizens, on their lands, saw nothing except humiliation, indignity and loss of dignity and every right guaranteed by life to its inhabitants of human rights by terrorism. However, terrorism stole everything beautiful and everything green in the life of Iraq including the people and government. Since the ancient times, the world used to call it the land of Mesopotamia, as described by Allah, and it is a land of peace, security and beneficence which overflowed on the neighbours of Iraq, and not only its people and citizens. The finest youth of the world used to come to it from around the land of Allah that Iraq is the land in which they threw the first beads of their beautiful lives. However, with the entry and the occupation of the Iraqi territory by the terrorist forces, all the situations have changed and nothing is no longer the same. Everything that was bright and beautiful has become dimmed at night and on overnight. Everything that promises a beautiful life has become mourning on the lives of the lost people by the extremist brutal terrorism and then sadness and grief prevailed in all the Iraqi homes due to sadness and out of oppression for what they have suffered from the ailments brought by the brutal terrorist groups. However, since the first time the feet of the terrorist groups touched Iraq, tears and Iraqi blood began by these criminal terrorists. 

  • حمزة قاسمي

    2011-5-25

    We curse the al-Qaeda terrorist organization and its takfiri elements and curse all their criminal acts against our country and our people. The acts of these criminals are rejected and accursed, because they kill innocent people, violate the sanctities and shed the blood of innocent people. God's curse be on al-Qaeda and on all the murderers and terrorists who belong to it.

  • عباس ياسين

    2011-5-24

    May God curse the al-Qaeda groups and the cowardly terrorist gangs that are taking the lives of many innocent Iraqis. They are the cause of the insecurity and instability in the country, and they have caused the death of many people in Iraq, which is still reeling from its wounds. These were innocent people, especially the youths whose blood has been spilled in Iraq, a country that has seen nothing but suffering and pain as a result of all the activities of terrorism and al-Qaeda.

  • صادق جلال الدين

    2011-5-4

    What the Iraqi security forces are doing is great evidence of the progress and the great success they have achieved, so as to pursue and hunt down all the corrupting elements in the cowardly, terrorist al-Qaeda organization that wants to corrupt security and stability in Iraq by spreading bombings, murdering, abduction, intimidation, destruction, sabotage and corrupting all the Iraqi citizen’s interests. Therefore, we believe that the Iraqi security forces, especially in Nineveh governorate, perform their duty with complete accuracy and forceful follow-up, to reach the leaders of the cowardly al-Qaeda organization. They have arrested another leader in the al-Qaeda organization, and this made the conditions better than they were before in Nineveh governorate, and contributed to enhancing the progress. The citizens living in Nineveh governorate begin to breathe deeply, as they have managed to get rid of a great concern, i.e. the leaders and individuals of the terrorist al-Qaeda organization, thanks to the Iraqi security forces that perform their duty continuously so as to get rid of these corrupting groups. This is merely evidence of the fact that the leadership is keen on eliminating these cowardly groups that murder and shed the blood of the Iraqi people, but there are always those in the Iraqi security forces who confront them and deter them.

  • طاهر علوان

    2011-4-29

    Our security forces in Iraq deserve all our love, appreciation and respect, and we extend our congratulations to them, because they are doing a great job in confronting the elements of terrorist organizations and arresting a lot of armed elements of these groups, which have carried out a lot of crimes and killings against our people in Iraq. The Iraqi forces played a major role in providing protection for the country in all provinces of Iraq and allowed the citizens to live in security and stability, away from the violence and terrorism that were perpetrated by these criminals. The role of the Iraqi security forces in fighting terrorism and reducing the role of these elements is great. We thank and congratulate them for this role, because they were able, through many military operations carried out by our armed forces, to minimize the role of terrorist organizations, and to weaken the terrorist operations that were carried out against us through arrests made by our brave Iraqi forces, especially against the militants of the leaders of terrorist organizations, which have made a lot of us feel that our country is safe and the security situation is in continuous improvement. All this is thanks to our armed forces, which deserve all blessings and congratulations from the bottom of our hearts, because they have sacrificed so much for us and for the safety of the country. Blessed are those heroic operations that you carry out day after day.

  • عبدالله محسن

    2011-4-27

    May God’s curse befall the terrorists, who have killed our children and women and who have destroyed our country and our holy places. In fact, they have burned our mosques in addition to bombing the worshipers, religious scholars and innocent people. Thus, they have pretended to belong to Islam in order to tarnish its image. May God curse Al-Qaeda and all the followers of this criminal organization. In fact, these terrorist organizations have incited civil wars in order to sow division by any possible means. These terrorists have revealed their real identities and their criminal objectives. In fact, all the people have discovered that they are criminals and not mujahideen, i.e. Islamic fighters, as they have pretended. Thus, according to history, all of them have violated the laws and they are wanted men. Thus, terrorist organizations have become the refuge of these criminals in order to exploit them in carrying out killing. They are criminals, and killing and bloodshed is something natural for them.

  • ابراهيم الزنكي

    2011-4-26

    As an Iraqi citizen, I congratulate the members of our armed forces and the heroic security forces in Iraq for their mighty efforts and for their dedication to their work, which enabled them to arrest a large number of suspects for their involvement in terrorist acts in the city of Mosul. The security organs launched this raid to protect security in Iraq and made the terrorist organizations miss their chance, as they sought the destruction of the country and the killing of the people through the criminal terrorist operations they practice against the safe, unsuspecting Iraqis. These terrorist organizations commit many criminal acts in the northern area. This took place in the city of Mosul in particular, as it suffers from terrorist attacks repeatedly committed by criminal agents. This led to the killing of many people and the wounding of some other people, which led to fear and panic among the people due to the terrorist acts carried out by the different terrorist organizations to spread fear and panic among the people of society and to shake the security of the governorate. For our part, we praise the brave, patriotic work done by our armed forces, which are entrusted with the protection of Iraqis by confronting these terrorist groups or those groups that are suspected of being involved in the criminal acts through which murderers are seeking to destroy our society. Therefore, we call on the heroic security forces to carry out more daring raids, to cause the enemies to miss their chance and to eliminate them by arresting them, along with all those suspected of committing terrorist acts or of supporting those murderers, and to chase them in each city, each mountain and each valley in order to arrest them as soon as possible, so that our society will be blessed with security and be able to live in freedom, prosperity and great peace. This is to achieve security and safety in the northern area, especially in the city of Mosul, which has experienced many cowardly terrorist acts, which impacted its infrastructure as a result of the acts of those criminals and their terrorist acts, adopted by their excommunicating organizations in the region. Let the criminals know that Iraq has heroic men who have sworn to fight terrorism and stand up to it until they achieve either victory or martyrdom, which will be the end of terrorism at the hands of the brave Iraqis, God willing.

  • وعد اكرم

    2011-4-23

    The terrorist acts committed by Al Qaeda are so numerous and countless, because Al Qaeda members have murdered many Iraqis by using many methods that show the spirit of violence and criminality they have been trained for by the leaders of the Al Qaeda terrorist organization, which wants evil for Iraq and Iraqis. They have divided the people of Iraq, thus exploiting the sectarian aspect and the multiplicity of religions in Iraq. They violated the sanctities of other religions, such as Christianity, and they murdered Christians inside the sacred churches and thus caused great damage as they distorted the image of Islam, and they instilled grudges in the souls of the Christian brothers. However, what happened was that the people of Iraq were united in the face of terrorism and terrorists, who wanted to harm the security, sovereignty and stability of Iraq. They divided the two sects of Sunnis and Shiites against each other, in order to cause massacres among the people of Iraq. Their goal was to get rid of all Iraqis. They worked on murdering children, women, sheikhs and many youths, who were the victims of treachery, terrorism and identity killing under the pretense of being affiliated with one sect or the other. As such, Iraqis cannot easily forget the massacres that took place in Iraq, because they have been imprinted in their minds. They lived very bitter days as a result of fear and terror. They have been victims of displacement and forced migration outside of Iraq to flee the assassinations that many Iraqis have witnessed. Therefore, the acts of the terrorist groups cannot be forgiven, no matter what, and they can never be forgiven. History has placed shame over those lost, cowardly, savagely criminal terrorist groups and factions.

  • ابو شيماء

    2011-4-15

    Mosul has seen better days, but it is now suffering.