Iraqi security forces arrested 27 suspected terrorists and killed four others on Thursday (August 18th) during operations across the country.
In Baghdad, a joint police and Iraqi army force raided a house in the center of the capital's Yermouk neighborhood after obtaining intelligence about the presence of four suspected terrorists, according to Col. Abdullah Mumshit al-Dayeni, director of the neighborhood's operations command.
"The force surrounded the house and succeeded in storming it, and found inside it four suicide bombers, two of them of Arab nationalities. They were ready to blow themselves up in various parts of Baghdad," al-Dayeni told Mawtani.
Security personnel killed three of the suspects on the spot, he said, but the fourth suspect blew himself up, wounding seven soldiers.
"The four terrorists belonged to the terrorist al-Qaeda organization, and their elimination is considered a remarkable achievement for the Iraqi forces," said al-Dayeni, adding that security forces also found explosives, weapons, and a suicide belt.
According to Hassan al-Kinani, a member of Baghdad Provincial Council's defense and security committee, the raid wiped out a terrorist cell that was operating inside Baghdad.
"During the operation, the security forces obtained extremely important information that shows how al-Qaeda operates in Baghdad and Adhamiyah, the covers it uses in its actions, and the sources of its funds," al-Kinani told Mawtani. "It is hoped that there will be a positive outcome from this operation in the coming weeks."
In Mosul, security officials said 16 suspected al-Qaeda members were arrested during a large security sweep targeting the city's northern neighborhoods.
Maj. Gen. Nasser al-Ghannam, commander of the Iraqi land forces' 2nd division, said the army launched the eight-hour military operation Thursday based on intelligence indicating the possible presence of terrorist activities in 22 different houses.
"The houses were stormed and 16 terrorists belonging to the al-Qaeda organization were arrested, including a Syrian gunman who occupies the post of 'emir' in the al-Qaeda organization," al-Ghannam told Mawtani.
Security personnel seized 51 sticky bombs, a remote-controlled car bomb, and various light weapons and rocket missiles.
Ghannam said that the most prominent detainees are Mulla Waleed, who was wanted by Iraqi forces on charges of mass killings, and Sheikh Sufiyan al-Taie, who officials allege is responsible for rigging car bombs and providing the city's terror cells with landmines.
"Five of the detainees are involved, by irrefutable evidence, in crimes of sectarian and ethnic-inspired assassinations, and targeting churches, universities and doctors," said Ninawa province security advisor Kamil Khattab.
"The security operation is considered key to uncovering many of the crimes committed by al-Qaeda in the past, which caused much pain and division within the various communities of the city," he told Mawtani.
In Kirkuk, security forces detained another 11 suspects during two aerial landing operations Thursday in the villages of Safra and Komat in the Riyadh district, southwest of the city.
According to Riyadh district police director Brig. Gen. Serhad Qader, "Eleven terrorists were arrested, including six who belong to the al-Qaeda organization," adding that their interrogations are still underway.
"Four of the terrorists will face charges of killing a large number of victims a few weeks ago, including the murder of a citizen by affixing an explosive charge on him, and then detonating it from afar," said Col. Basil al-Sheikhli of Kirkuk city police.
Iraqi Ministry of Interior spokesman Maj. Gen. Adel Dahham told Mawtani, "These security operations came in answer to the terrorist attacks launched by the terrorists of the al-Qaeda organization lately."
"Attacks by security forces on the terrorists, and the destruction of their hideouts and foiling their plans, are the best answer to the bloodshed made by those criminal groups."