Iraqi army arrests al-Qaeda 'minister of information' in Mosul

The capture of the minister of information and three of his assistants was a major success for the Iraqi army. Above, suspects detained in January in Baghdad. [Mohammed Ameen/Reuters]

The capture of the minister of information and three of his assistants was a major success for the Iraqi army. Above, suspects detained in January in Baghdad. [Mohammed Ameen/Reuters]

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An elite force of the Iraqi army arrested Manhal Izzedeen Ridha, the "minister of information" of the al-Qaeda-linked Islamic State of Iraq, along with three of his aides in an operation Thursday (February 2nd) in the city of Mosul.

Maj. Gen. Mohammad al-Askeri, spokesman for the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, told Mawtani that Ridha is now in the hands of the Iraqi forces after "two years of chasing him throughout various parts of Iraq".

"[Ridha] is the one responsible for disseminating the various al-Qaeda statements usually released after major terrorist attacks," al-Askeri said.

The major general said the operation was based on precise intelligence; communications made by persons close to Ridha were monitored, and security operatives were posted to watch a number of homes and buildings that the suspect frequented.

He said Iraqi forces also detained three of his aides and seized a fully equipped media office containing important information and documents which are believed to represent a centre for media operations of al-Qaeda for all Iraqi cities.

Lt. Col. Abdul Raheem al-Atwany, spokesman for the Ninawa Operations Command, said Iraqi forces used two military helicopters and conducted an aerial landing on the house where Ridha was hiding.

Al-Atwany told Mawtani that four detainees were moved to an interim detention centre as a first step prior to their referral to the Iraqi judiciary.

He said Ridha will face nine charges, the most important of which are attacking an army headquarters with missiles, detonating explosions near Mosul University and the tourist district in 2010, and the dissemination of speeches and statements of al-Qaeda and the Islamic State of Iraq.

He said during the operation, the military forces found CDs containing footage of recent terrorist operations that have not been shown before, in addition to photographs of armed figures attending special sessions and meetings of the organisation prior to the launch of armed attacks.

'Painful blow to al-Qaeda'

Maj. Gen. Salih Serhan, director of operations at the Iraqi Ministry of Interior, praised the security operation and the valuable information the military force obtained.

Serhan said this information "will enable Iraqi security forces from the army and police to identify and reach important leading figures of al-Qaeda".

He told Mawtani that the operation "represents a painful blow to al-Qaeda because Ridha's position in the organisation was high and important".

"We are trying to launch different pre-emptive attacks before al-Qaeda and its leaders change their locations."

Serhan said that the operation did not result in any losses for the Iraqi armed forces.

Raheem al-Shammary, chairman of the security committee at the Ninewa provincial council, welcomed the success of the military operation.

"We expect considerable improvement in the security situation during the coming days because the arrest of one of the pillars of the terrorism pyramid in the province and in Iraq in general will have a great impact in the security forces continued pursuance of the other terrorists."

Al-Shammary called on the citizens to collaborate with the security forces to target armed groups "to achieve total security in Ninawa and in all parts of the country".

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  • READER COMMENTS

    فوزي جواد

    2012-3-13

    Security operations which lead to the arrest of al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq make us happy and indicate the successful role our heroic security forces have played. We hope that such accomplishments will continue because we feel more secure and stable with all the news about the arrest of one of the al-Qaeda leaders. Iraq will be all right and security and stability will be restored after these criminals have fallen into the hands of justice to be punished. Then, we will get rid of them and their terrorist acts, which have been targeting our country and people over the past ten years. Therefore, I think that al-Qaeda, after the arrest of its leaders, is starting to fall apart little by little. This outcast organization has come under the strikes of our security forces and is living its last days in Iraq. We are happy about this because we want our beloved Iraq and its people to live in peace and security after the elimination of al-Qaeda terrorist groups, which I consider are the heads of evil that orchestrate all criminal operations against civilians every day.

  • صفاء

    2012-3-12

    Terrorism and its criminal thoughts is just an anomaly organization characterized by ideas that they are trying to promote in Iraq. These are dark and extremist ideas.

  • عادل صالح

    2012-3-11

    The arrest of the leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq should have happened a long time ago, in order to protect the innocent souls that are being killed at the hands of these terrorist elements from the evils of those terrorists, who spared no one. They killed many innocent people and caused tragic conditions as a result of their bombing attacks and the attacks everywhere. Hence, arresting the terrorists is essential to hit and weaken the groups of al-Qaeda and its cells at the hands of the Iraqi security forces, to lead us to the rest of the cells and members of the organization inside Iraq. Likewise, this will also weaken the other cells that work under the command of the arrested leaders, as they will lose their leaders, guides, planners and financiers who help them execute the attacks and the terrorist operations against the poor Iraqis, who have suffered much pain and destruction at the hands of these malicious terrorist elements that tamper with the security and stability of the citizens. Hence, I believe that arresting them would contribute to the elimination of these armed groups, which constitute a serious threat to the citizens. This also provides evidence that the Iraqi security forces perform their duties to the fullest, and shows their insistence on doing everything that is necessary to get rid of all the elements that harm Iraq.

  • شريف قاسم

    2012-3-7

    The security forces, army and police must do their duty as accurately as possible and follow up the communication, investigation and research to reach all the leaders existing in the province of Mosul, which has seen a lot of violence, terrorism, sabotage, tampering, destruction, murder, slaughter, kidnapping, oppression, tyranny, brutality, and cruelty. This is what caused the psychological and physical harm to the people of the province of Mosul. In addition to the suspension of life in the city for too long, it is something that has made the people of the province tired of the fact that the province of Mosul is the center for the leaders of al-Qaeda. It is in great need to be cleaned of the malicious and corrupt terrorist elements as well as cliques and at the top of them, the leaders who have made all of these plans and guidance for their many acts of terrorism, which affected all the provinces of Iraq without any exception. Thus, we hope to eliminate them forever and that the sons of the province of Mosul shall continue their lives in a calm and stable way free from any acts of violence, terrorism, murder, or other terrorist acts that caused the shedding of so much innocent blood.

  • وقاص

    2012-3-7

    It is very important to arrest the leaders who are working for al-Qaeda in Mosul. It is necessary to reach these groups through the process of investigations and interrogations in order to eliminate the rest of the terrorist cells and organizations, as well as the elements working with groups of the terrorist al-Qaeda. This is what will contribute in reaching them in a safer and faster way. In addition, the groups of al-Qaeda will weaken and decline to a great degree if they have access to the leaders who direct, plan and finance, whether by money or weapons. This is what will be the major reason in getting rid of the armed and terrorist gangs that are killing and shedding the innocent blood of the poor Iraqi people who faced a lot of problems, difficulties, pain, sufferings, oppression, injustice, tyranny, terrorism, fear, and intimidation in the hands of these cowardly terrorist groups. For this reason, it is very necessary to reach the head of the snake to be cut easily from the rest of the body, which will gradually weaken and die.

  • فهد جميل

    2012-3-2

    We would like to praise Allah for having helped our troops and facilitated for them the arrest of many prominent leaders of the terrorist al-Qaeda in Iraq. In fact, such news serves to please Iraqis and warm their hearts. This also makes us feel that we have army and police forces that are able to face the criminal terrorists. This will certainly put the pressure on al-Qaeda, especially since it has lost a lot of field commanders in Iraq. These terrorists will continue to be eradicated by the army and police members and there will not remain a single terrorist in the country. In fact, we can no longer bear the presence of these people and we will fight them everywhere and at any time until we eradicate them. In so doing, Iraq will restore its former position. In addition, smile and joy will return to the Iraqis once again with God’s will.

  • حميد عبدالخالق

    2012-2-27

    I think that what is said about the arrest of the al-Qaeda organization leaders is nothing but lies. It is incorrect, because our security forces have started giving the title of “terrorist leader” to any arrested person. I do not know whether the al-Qaeda organization contains leaders only, because we do not hear that our security forces have arrested rank-and-file members of al-Qaeda or a network or a cell of Al-Qaeda, but we always hear that great leaders in this terrorist organization have been arrested. This is on the one hand. On the other hand, the real results show the untruthfulness of what the Iraqi security forces say. The evidence of this is that the terrorist operations are still continuing, and Iraqis are killed every day as a result of terrorist acts, including bombed cars, explosive devices, sound silencers and other killing methods used by al-Qaeda. This proves that al-Qaeda is active and has not been affected, and it was not weakened, as the security leaders are trying to show the Iraqi people. If it is the case, as they say, that they are arresting the senior leaders of this organization, we would have witnessed a weakness in the performance of this terrorist organization, and the severity of the operations would have become light and decreased, but the opposite has happened. Therefore, the reality is contradictory and completely different from what we hear about in the media; al-Qaeda is growing and being re-activated, and the government should fight al-Qaeda strongly and with great ability, and not via the media and words only, because this will not have any results.

  • عمر

    2012-2-24

    May God curse al-Qaeda’s terrorist groups, which have caused damage and destruction not only to the Iraqi people but also to the rest of the other countries. However, Iraq has witnessed the most horrific conditions; pain, suffering and horror. The Iraqi sons have gone through the most difficult times due to the terrorists groups of al-Qaeda. The latter have taken advantage of the situation witnessed by Iraq and the Iraqi people.

  • عواد حسان

    2012-2-23

    As an Iraqi citizen, who lives in Iraq, I demand that all responsible bodies and the Iraqi government execute every terrorist belonging to al-Qaeda if they are arrested in any Iraqi province. These terrorists killed Iraqi people without any reason or justification, spread terror and fear in all Iraqi provinces and destroyed Iraq from north to south. For eight years, the Iraqi people have been suffering from the presence of these saboteurs and cowards in Iraq because they have committed very hideous and sickening acts. They have made people live in constant horror, crippled all walks of life in Iraq and spread fear among Iraqis, as a result of cowardly barbaric acts, which indicate their cruelty and enmity. Their deviant and sick souls have made them killing machines; they are prepared to destroy the whole Iraqi people for the money they receive from their masters who support them in return for carrying out bombings, theft, killing and assaults on people.

  • Via

    2012-2-21

    Terrorist leaders of al Qaeda must be brought to Iraqi justice in order to get their reward and, God willing, Lord of the Worlds, all good and success for the heroic people of Mosul and the heroic security forces that always want Iraq to be better. O Lord, save them of all evil in order to protect and defend Iraq and Mosul. Iraq has started the good from the north and, God willing, will end to the south. O God, protect Iraq from all evil, Amen.

  • براء مالك

    2012-2-21

    Iraqis in all Iraqi provinces benefit from what its hero forces have done in Mosul; for their intensive work in order to arrest the cowardly terrorists, and terrorists do not want the best for Iraq and Iraqis, and all of Iraq must know that justice is with them and the terrorists do not have a place in Iraq at all. And those acts that have occurred in Mosul are the most important and serious to rid Iraq of a great evil that fell upon it because of terrorism and terrorists who are despicable and cowardly, al-Qaeda. I call each of the leaders in Mosul to work as much as they can to provide the best for Mosul to be one of the safest provinces of Iraq because it is one of the most dangerous provinces that is in the northern region through which any person can enter. And in spite of all the problems and fear, the heroes will always try to make Mosul better.

  • جميل كمال

    2012-2-21

    A good matter that deserves the appreciation and confidence of all Iraqis is what we hear that there are arrests of the large leaderships of al-Qaeda and we certainly rejoice because Iraq must be better and Mosul is one of the most vulnerable of Iraqi provinces to despicable and spiteful terrorist acts by hidden terrorists who walk across the Iraqi border. And the terrorists of Al-Qaeda are now in a critical situation because the heroes in Mosul have arrested them, and that's what we want; for them to be arrested, lowering their confidence and to be the losers because they have carried out countless operations and the Iraqis have heroes who do not accept bad things to happen to them, but God is always with the truth and truth must prevail.

  • ايوب محمد

    2012-2-21

    Arresting these murderers and criminals will be of great benefits to the people of al-Mosul who will feel the long-awaited security and stability. I believe a lot of things will improve for al-Mosul and its people, terrorism will vanish and al-Qaeda will gradually diminish until it totally disappears. The military operations and the unparalleled security work led by our heroic army and brave security forces in al-Mosul have started to show fruitful outcomes as terrorism’s rotten heads have started to fall one after another before Iraq’s heroes who are determined to return security and stability to al-Mosul, which will witness a lot of security improvement. Life will go back to its normal situation before al-Qaeda ever existed and a lot of people will return to practice their works normally. Also, arresting al-Qaeda leaders in al-Mosul will have a great impact on returning joy to al-Mosul and allow it to become serious about opening up to investment companies to undertake projects that will restore Mosul to its rightful place as one of Iraq's most important cities. So, a thousand thanks to our security forces that undertook this heroic security mission and arrested these al-Qaeda terrorists and, first and foremost, their leadership of murderers responsible for a myriad of criminal operations over the past years in Mosul.

  • نجم فرحان

    2012-2-21

    The issue of arresting leaders of al-Qaeda in al-Mosul province is of importance; these leaders are the heads of evil and terrorism. It is important to arrest and put them in prisons to be justly punished. This will have a positive impact on the security situation in al-Mosul—this province, which has long witnessed a lot of dirty terrorist operations against its people who for many years have been suffering from the yoke of al-Qaeda, which is behind all pain and tragedies of the people in al-Mosul city. Therefore, these evil and takfiri men of al-Qaeda are the heads of terrorism, and they are the main reasons behind all problems, including the confusion of security and stability in al-Mosul city for many years.

  • ماجد صابر

    2012-2-20

    I believe that all the criminals who were involved in terrorist crimes in Mosul and who implemented the terrorist plans here deserve nothing but execution. All Iraqis must insist on this penalty for those criminals and killers, who practiced many criminal acts, which played the key role in all the current suffering of Mosul and its residents, after the destruction that affected this governorate at the hands of terrorism and its cowardly groups. They launched a cowardly attack on its innocent people, who fell as martyrs, wounded and disabled. Those criminals are the cause of the increasing number of orphans in Iraq.

  • اياد جمال

    2012-2-19

    The Iraqi cities and governorates have suffered in the past days from many terrorist acts that have been distributed between the terrorist bombings that reached our residential areas and targeted the markets and the governmental institutions, as well as the phenomenon of assassinations, which reached the Iraqi officials and efficiencies. This matter involves a lot of dangers to the safety and security of our country and people. I think that expanding the frame of the terrorist acts these days has a lot of negative connotations which express the security chaos that afflict our cities and governorates and which contributes as well to claiming the lives of dozens of innocent people, as a result of this security chaos and what the cowardly terrorist operations have left for us. I think that the security acts carried out by our security forces are good. They are known to us for their bravery and sacrifice, not retreating, but continuing, as retreat is the reason behind the acts being carried out by the terrorist and infidel elements, who wait for any opportunity to go back to practicing the terrorist operations and carrying them out in our cities, so as to destabilize the security and the stability in our country, as well as targeting the largest possible number of civilians and claiming their lives. We can do nothing to this security chaos that led to all these tragedies except to direct constructive criticism at it. We cannot continue to endure the barbarism of terrorism and its terrorist and infidel organizations that seek to target us continuously, as well as targeting our country. The security successes achieved by our brave security forces should be maintained, and we should not retreat to the back, no matter what happens.

  • ماجد سرحان

    2012-2-17

    Al-Qaeda is a mean and terrorist organization, and we have to weaken it and stop it from spreading in every possible way. We have to work continually to blame the leading members of Al-Qaeda and prevent them from committing their cowardly crimes. That is because they instigate the people to carry out suicide attacks and other spiteful crimes. O God! Destroy them and take revenge upon them.

  • لطيف حمزة

    2012-2-17

    The arrests of the al-Qaeda leaders in Mosul are very important in scaling the movements of terrorist organizations, reducing their criminal acts, and deterring them in the province due to the influence of these leaders in the management of evil in Iraq. They are the ones who prepare plans and contact criminals abroad to request support, weapons, and money, and choose goals that guide criminals towards the purpose of carrying out their terrorist acts. However, when the Iraqi Security Forces have arrested the leaders of this organization, their work will largely decline due to losing their leaders and being away from them. This will lead to a significant disturbance in their situation, in addition to their sense of fear and loss because of the predominance of the security forces over their leaders. Thus, these organizations will become like a drifting herd, leading to the ease of their arrest by the security forces. The security situation in Mosul will improve and people will feel safe and secure, and life will return to normal as it was before the entry of these despicable people and carrying out criminal acts that took the lives of many Iraqi people.

  • شمس الدين

    2012-2-17

    Lord we ask you, destroy the terrorists and save us from them as You facilitated the killing of bin Laden. Lord make it easier to end this organization so that it breaks down and disappears from Iraq to give us the opportunity to live because we are already tired of the long years of bloodshed and destruction, killing and of Saddam's wars, which exhausted the Iraqi people and the country and we said God it ended and Saddam ended, and passing through terrorism for eight consecutive years of killings, vandalism and ongoing crimes and massacres here and there, the people of Iraq no longer have the power to be more patient. Believe me, if all this happened to any other country it have vanished by now, but the Iraqi is by nature patient and steadfast and I hope we continue until God has mercy on us and save us from terrorism and al Qaeda.

  • يونس مصطفى

    2012-2-14

    The arrests of the al-Qaeda leaders in Mosul are very important in scaling the movements of terrorist organizations, reducing their criminal acts, and deterring them in the province due to the influence of these leaders in the management of evil in Iraq. They are the ones who prepare plans and contact criminals abroad to request support, weapons, and money, and choose goals that guide criminals towards the purpose of carrying out their terrorist acts. However, when the Iraqi Security Forces arrested the leaders of this organization, their work will largely decline due to losing their leaders and being away from them. This will lead to the deterioration in their situation significantly in addition to their sense of fear and loss because of the predominance of the security forces over their leaders. Thus, these organizations will become like a drifting herd, leading to their easy arrest by security forces. The security situation in Mosul will improve and people will feel safe and secure, and life will return to normal as it was before the entry of these despicable people and carrying out criminal acts that took the lives of many Iraqi people.

  • أبن البصرة

    2012-2-14

    As you all know, al-Qaeda is the name of the most popular terrorist organization, and it is most active in Iraq. The group was founded in 2003, and it was first headed by Jordanian militants. Iraq is the place where the al-Qaeda members operate most actively. Some of the goals of al-Qaeda include removing the US soldiers from Muslim countries and destroying Israel. Al-Qaeda claimed the credit for many attacks on Iraqi soldiers; they also claimed that they attacked the agencies like the International Red Cross, etc. Every year they bombed some places that kill dozens of people at one time. Throughout 2004, they conducted many attacks on US military personnel. In 2006, they captured two US soldiers and later killed and beheaded them. In 2008, al-Qaeda targeted the Pet market of Baghdad, which killed almost 98 people. In the same year, they bombed a shopping center of Baghdad, which killed approximately 70 people. These types of incidents happen in Iraq on a regular basis, and they kill many people here. The government is also helpless and is unable to do what is needed.