Iraqi security forces arrested 10 suspects on Monday (July 4th), following a series of raids across Baghdad province.
Seven of the men are accused of counterfeiting Iraqi currency for financing terrorist groups, while three are accused of forging food expiration dates to sell expired goods to unsuspecting citizens.
"The security operation was based on testimonies given by a number of jailed terrorists who confirmed they were receiving money through a gang involved in counterfeiting currency," said Col. Moauyed Jubair of the Baghdad Police Command, adding that the informants "only gave information on one person".
Jubair told Mawtani that the security forces' subsequent investigations following up on the tip led to a raid on a house in the Jihad neighborhood in western Baghdad, where seven men were detained.
"Three of the detainees are ex-convicts who had been sentenced by the courts on charges related to the supply of weapons and explosives from outside the country for the benefit of one terrorist group," Jubair said. "The rest are other members of the counterfeit gang."
Iraqi forces found 230 million dinars of counterfeit money in the house, in addition to counterfeiting equipment that Jubair said was manufactured in a neighboring country and employed advanced, high-speed forgery technology.
Jubair said that police also discovered light weapons, two stolen cars and messages proving that the suspects were in contact with terrorists whose identities or affiliations have not yet been established, but are most likely the Asaeb Ahl al-Haq militia and al-Qaeda.
"The police have kept the detainees in custody for interrogation to identify the networks through which they released the counterfeit money into the streets," said Baghdad police spokesperson Mushtaq Taleb.
Iraqi police arrested three suspects in another security operation on Monday. The detainees are believed to be involved in a scheme to change food expiration dates in order to sell expired goods to the public.
Mahmoud al-Halfi, spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, said that police raided an industrial workshop in central Baghdad and discovered three people altering the packaging of various canned foods and children's sweets.
"The persons in question admitted their crime of changing the expiration dates of the foodstuffs and selling them to both adults and children," al-Halfi told Mawtani.
Khalid Abdullah, a member of the Iraqi parliament's defense and security committee, praised the Iraqi security forces' performance and their success in capturing the suspects.
"The drop in terrorist operations and the weakening of the terrorists' hold gave the police the chance to pursue such gangs who are tampering with people's lives and livelihoods," Abdullah said. "Citizens should help such operations by informing on suspects' actions."
Hassan Sayyad, a 41-year-old government employee in Baghdad, said, "Those gangs are germs that had grown inside dark corners during the period of terrorist hegemony. Today, they must be chased and wiped out."
"Those gangs have caused a huge disruption in the market and many citizens have become victims of their counterfeit money," said Samar Ahmad, 38, a Ramadi housewife.
"But now the terrorists are in the hands of the law," she said. "They will not be able to harm citizens anymore."