Iraqi forces in Anbar province arrested seven suspects described as members of the so-called Islamic State of Iraq terrorist organization on Thursday (November 10th).
Security officials in the province said the arrest of the suspects led to foiling three planned terrorist attacks targeting civilians and members of the Iraqi security forces in Ramadi and Fallujah.
"Iraqi forces obtained intelligence that indicated there were plans being made by members of the Islamic State of Iraq to target public gardens, parks and amusement parks while citizens were enjoying the Eid al-Adha holiday," said Col. Khamees al-Dulaimi of Anbar province operations command.
Al-Dulaimi told Mawtani that Iraqi forces formed teams to monitor the security situation in cities throughout the province, with instructions to step up security measures in Ramadi and Fallujah.
"The security forces were able to arrest the terrorists as they tried to plant a number of explosives near playgrounds in Ramadi and a public park in Fallujah," al-Dulaimi said. He said security forces were also able to safely dismantle an explosives-rigged car parked near a popular market in Ramadi.
Brig. Gen. Shaker al-Mashhadani, commander of the Anbar police rapid deployment force, told Mawtani, "Foiling terrorist plans that target innocent civilians and state facilities is evidence of terrorists' poor planning, fear and their shrinking numbers in the face of Iraqi forces."
Al-Mashhadani said preliminary interrogation of the detainees indicated their involvement in planning other terrorist strikes targeting civilians in a number of Anbar cities and towns.
Security officials said the information obtained during the interrogations also led to uncovering a weapons cache inside an industrial shop in the western part of the province. The cache contained 18 improvised explosive devices, five rocket rounds, detonators, an explosives belt, a quantity of explosive materials, military uniforms and communication equipment.
"The interrogation of the terrorists is proceeding, and their actions will be investigated at their sites to determine the dates of every crime they have committed," said Capt. Muhanad Mohammad of the Anbar province investigative police.
Mohammad told Mawtani, "We will collect information on the accomplices who supported them and carried out terrorist strikes to kill Iraqis and disrupt security in the province."
Maj. Khalifa al-Falahi, commander of Anbar province's second emergency battalion, said, "Terrorist operations and plans in Anbar continue to be foiled, and this is evidence of the security-related expertise acquired by Iraqi forces in pursuing al-Qaeda sleeper cells."
Al-Falahi told Mawtani that citizens can help eliminate the remaining terrorist groups trying to disrupt security and target civilian compounds and Iraqi forces' patrols.
"Support and cooperation by Iraqi tribesmen and citizens are very important at this stage to foil all the terrorists' plans," he said. "Citizens should provide any information that could lead to the arrest of terrorists and suspects, and the destruction of their strongholds."
Iraqi authorities encourage citizens to call (130) or (104) to report any suspicious activities or information that could lead to weapons caches or arresting suspects.