Only a few hours after a new security campaign was launched Thursday (November 3rd) to provide security in Anbar province during the Eid al-Adha holiday, Iraqi security forces announced the arrest of 16 suspects.
Security officials said all branches of the Iraqi forces in the province are taking part in the campaign, which focuses on providing protection to tourist and leisure areas, tightens search measures at gardens and public parks, and bans parking cars on both sides of the streets near popular markets.
Weapons and explosives detection devices were distributed to all security checkpoints in the province. Security forces are using police dogs for searching cars, and the number of watch towers in crowded areas and near government buildings were increased as part of the campaign.
Maj. Gen. Hadi Erzaij Kassar, commander of Anbar police, said the security campaign covered the areas of the Tharthar basin, the western desert, the Zawbaa villages and districts in eastern Fallujah.
"During the first hours of the security campaign, 16 terrorists and suspects were arrested, some of whom had targeted civilians and members of the security forces at earlier times and were planning to detonate two car bombs and improvised explosive devices in various areas of Anbar's cities during the coming days," Kassar told Mawtani.
"The security operations aim to achieve security and peace for citizens during the days of Eid al-Adha and to prevent any terrorist attempts from targeting the innocent as they celebrate Eid," he said.
Iraqi forces also found two car bombs east of Ramadi, a weapons cache in the Karma district of Fallujah, and quantities of explosives, and heavy, medium and light weapons.
Col. Abdullah al-Alwani of the Anbar police operations room told Mawtani that initial investigations of the detainees "proved they were involved in launching a number of terrorist operations, such as the attack on police centres in Qaim and Karma, the assassination of five officers from Ramadi city police during the past few months, in addition to blowing up a number of civilian and army personnel houses in various areas in Anbar".
Al-Alwani said the security campaign will continue throughout Eid al-Adha, during which security forces will deploy a large number of intelligence operatives across Anbar to obtain important information.
"There will be dependence on intelligence that the security forces will obtain, in addition to the information provided by citizens to help security forces," he said.
"The terrorist plans that try to undermine the citizens' Eid celebrations will be foiled."
Maj. Khalifa al-Halbousi of the Anbar emergency battalion urged tribal leaders and citizens in Anbar to collaborate with security forces by providing information that may lead to foiling terrorist attacks, arresting suspects, or discovering weapons and explosives caches.
"The role of the tribesmen and citizens is very important in the security campaigns," al-Halbousi told Mawtani. "We encourage citizens to present any information they have that could be useful in reducing the menace of terrorists in Anbar."