Al-Qaeda is responsible for carrying out terrorist attacks in Abu Ghraib last week that left nine Iraqis dead and 19 others injured, Iraqi security officials said Sunday (November 20th).
On Friday, three explosive charges went off simultaneously targeting worshippers at the Rahma, Rahman, and Sadiq al-Ameen mosques in Abu Ghraib. Three security personnel who were providing protection at the mosques were killed in the explosions.
"All indications point to the terrorist al-Qaeda organization and parties that are affiliated with it. We are not ruling out involvement by militias supported by a state neighboring Iraq of being behind the operation," Colonel Sabah al-Falahy, commander of the Abu Ghraib police, told Mawtani.
"These terrorist operations are aimed at creating a major crisis in the town, which is noted for its wide ethnic and sectarian diversity, but these attempts will not go unnoticed by the citizens here," he said.
"The investigations will reveal the group that was behind the attack, and we will not show mercy to those who desecrated the houses of God and turned them into areas of hatred and extremism for despicable objectives seeking to destroy and fragment national unity," al-Falahy said.
Ziyad al-Tamimi, chairman of the defense and security committee for the Abu Ghraib town council, said Iraqi security forces imposed strict security measures at other mosques in town as a precaution against future terrorist attacks.
"The attack was somehow expected because the terrorists want to create a crisis between the Iraqi people. It is expected that Husseiniyats will be targeted as well to ignite a crisis and break down the spirit of citizenship and national unity," he told Mawtani.
The security forces will reveal the results of an interrogation of the detainees when they are completed, according to al-Tamimi.
Maj. Gen. Adel Dahham, the Ministry of Interior spokesperson, told Mawtani, "We will not hesitate to launch a major military operation in retaliation for the attacks."
Dahham said the Iraqi forces' insistence upon launching a retaliatory security operation was intended to prevent the terrorist groups from planning other attacks.
"Al-Qaeda terrorists will repeat their action if they do not see a painful retaliation from us. The lives of citizens are not cheap," he said.
Sheikh Yusuf al-Zawbae, a preacher and imam at the Rahma mosque, said, "This attack proves to us that terrorism has no faith, and it does not belong to any sect. Everyone must fight it and get rid of it in any way possible."
Zawbae urged Iraqi citizens to cooperate with Iraqi security forces to ensure the success of future security operations.
Shaker Mahmoud, 43, who witnessed the attack at the Rahma mosque, said, "The terrorists intended to strike against the highest number of victims possible. Their plan is to kill Iraqis and destroy the country."
"These plans will not succeed," he said. "We have declared our war on terror, and we will wipe out the terrorists soon."