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Anbar police arrest 14 terrorism suspects

A police officer gives water to a detainee. [Sabah al-Bazee / Reuters]

A police officer gives water to a detainee. [Sabah al-Bazee / Reuters]

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Iraqi forces in Anbar province arrested 14 suspected terrorists accused of targeting civilians and security forces in various cities in Anbar, police announced Tuesday (November 22nd).

The arrests were made Monday evening during security raids based on confessions from two suspects who had been arrested a few days earlier while attempting to blow up a police officer's house, according to Brig. Gen. Abdullah al-Dulaimi of Anbar Operations Command.

"The two terrorists were detained with help from citizens," al-Dulaimi told Mawtani. "They admitted that they had attempted to blow up the house of the officer and they gave information on the presence of a cell comprised of 14 terrorists in Ramadi, Fallujah, Rahaliya, Qaem district, Hit and the Tharthar basin."

Iraqi forces launched security operations in those areas based on information obtained during the interrogation of the two suspects.

"All the terrorists were detained and the terrorist cell was broken up completely," al-Dulaimi said.

Col. Khalifa al-Azzawi, the officer in charge of Anbar Operations Command, said the arrests were carried out "without any resistance".

He told Mawtani that security forces found a weapons cache in the Rahaliya area that included 31 improvised explosive devices (IEDs), 10 sticky bombs, five Strella rockets, RPG-7 launchers, and a large number of hand grenades, light weapons and explosives.

"During the preliminary interrogation, the terrorists admitted that they were attempting to carry out a serious terrorist plan targeting civilians and security forces," al-Azzawi said. "They were preparing to launch three strikes targeting police centres in the city of Ramadi and the Baghdadi district in western Anbar, in addition to blowing up food stores and robbing companies and commercial shops to provide funds for their terrorist operations."

Maj. Mustafa al-Lehaiby, commander of the rapid reaction force in the Ramadi city police, said, "The terrorists groups' plans have become well known to Iraqi forces following the attainment of a high level of readiness in maintaining security and stability."

Al-Lehaiby said security operations launched by Iraqi forces in recent months led to the destruction of terrorist hideouts and the arrest or elimination of a large number of their leaders and members.

''The terrorists try to target the security forces and civilians to kill the highest number of Iraqis, but the security forces are up on the alert for them, and their attempts will not succeed," he said.

Iraqi forces are still interrogating the detainees .

''During the few coming hours, the testimonies of the terrorists will be finalised, signed and endorsed, especially since they were involved in the killing of a large number of civilians in the past period," said Capt. Khalid al-Shammary, an investigations officer in the counter-terrorism section of the Anbar police.

Al-Shammary told Mawtani that Iraqi forces would call on citizens who had lost loved ones or endured suffering because of terrorist attacks to file complaints with the courts "in order to have the terrorists held to account after the interrogations are completed".