Police arrest 16 suspected al-Qaeda members south of Baghdad

Iraqi police present suspected militants to the media in Baquba on February 7, 2012. [Stringer Iraq/Reuters]

Iraqi police present suspected militants to the media in Baquba on February 7, 2012. [Stringer Iraq/Reuters]

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Police arrested 16 suspected al-Qaeda members during a security operation south of Baghdad, the Iraqi Ministry of Interior announced Sunday (February 12th).

"A special security force from the police raided an al-Qaeda stronghold in the Rasheed district, south of Baghdad, and clashed with a group of gunmen," said Maj. Gen. Adel Dahham, spokesman for the Ministry of Interior.

He said the security force called in back-up forces from the army after coming under fire, which left three policemen wounded.

The clash lasted 40 minutes, after which 16 gunmen, some of them of Arab nationalities, were arrested, he said.

Dahham told Mawtani that Iraqi forces took the suspects to a temporary detention center while an engineering team from the Iraqi army handled the process of confiscating the weapons and explosives that were found in the gunmen's possession.

He said the raid was conducted based on reports from farmers in the area, as well as members of the Iraqi Sahwa forces and tribesmen.

Lt. Col. Ali al-Gharbawi, chief of police of the Rasheed district, identified one of the suspects as Abu Khalid al-Dulaimi, "who is the prime suspect accused of blowing up the fuel station in the district in the summer of 2008, which left 45 civilians dead and wounded".

Al-Gharbawi said the detainees were planning to launch attacks on police stations and a driving school, according to maps and documents found in their possession.

Capt. Haider al-Taie, commander of the third engineering unit of the Iraqi Army's 17th division, said the quantities of explosives that the Iraqi forces found "were enough to blow up half of the town".

Al-Taie said Iraqi forces seized 23 Katyusha rockets, 19 explosive charges, 54 rifles and guns of various types, and quantities of TNT and C-4 explosives estimated at more than one and a quarter tons.

He told Mawtani that an engineering squad used police dogs to search the place to ensure it was totally free of any other explosives or weapons.

The mayor of the Rasheed district, Abdullah Serhan, called on the families of al-Qaeda victims in town to file complaints at Iraqi courts in order for justice to take its course.

Serhan said the names of the detainees will be released as soon as the interrogation is completed.

A number of al-Rasheed district residents welcomed the news of the arrests.

"We see noticeable progress by the security forces in our district," said Mazen Abed, 32.

"If it were not for the support shown by the area residents and the tribesmen in informing on the gunmen, [the terrorists] would have stayed longer," Abed said.

Firas Ahmad, 40, said, "We wish to see the day when the total destruction of al-Qaeda would be announced not only in our area but in all parts of the country because it is still trying to destroy Iraq."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    اركان علي

    2012-8-2

    It has become essential to confront in many ways the imminent threat of terrorism in Iraq. We will focus here on the most severe ways which is the armed confrontation that is considered as one of the best ways in eliminating these terrorist movements with full force and vigor. Therefore, what has been taking by force is only returned by force. As these terrorists have looted the grace of the security from the Iraqi citizen, the Iraqi Forces must recover it by force. This solution is considered as the more powerful and faster of all the solutions, but with heavy losses against the valiant Iraqi Forces.

  • عبدالصمد

    2012-3-12

    Facing this danger and the dissemination of destructive ideas requires their elimination through concerted global efforts. Therefore, this will get rid of this organization as well as their attempts at destruction and targeting on the pretext of Jihad. Terrorist attacks are affecting civilians in many countries, caused by the ideas of al-Qaeda that are published. I see that there is a need for facing the danger of the dissemination of the ideas of terrorism. Al-Qaeda is recruiting more elements to work under them after being seduced by false ideas that misled them. These ideas may have been lying dormant in some countries and we must stand to face these risks in order to protect our countries, communities and families from this great threat.

  • صباح

    2012-3-11

    I believe that Al-Qaeda has started dying and disappearing from the arena. This may be noticed by some people, while others still think that these terrorist groups are still strong and carry out their activities, attacks and strikes against many innocents who are not guilty of anything, especially the explosions that were carried out recently against many of the innocent citizens.

  • غازي

    2012-3-5

    The weakness of al-Qaeda in Iraq is the best example of the unity of Iraq and Iraqis through all their extensive efforts to get rid of terrorism and terrorists. Iraqis should insist on their position towards ridding Iraq of these oppressive groups, which have long hated Iraq and Iraqis. Their acts are the reasons behind all the problems in the Arab nation, but things are better now because all-Qaeda have become weak and incapable of doing anything.

  • كامل اسعد

    2012-3-3

    Al-Qaeda has accomplished a lot in Iraq through the acts of murder, slaughter and trapping, and they have hit the innocent people from everywhere. The Iraqis have endured a lot of the crime. Every Iraqi house has lots of misfortunes, many of them lost their beloved ones, and some of them went missing. No one found their trail and those are the biggest problems in Iraq. In my opinion, the intention of al-Qaeda behind these criminal acts was to control Iraq. It has destabilized safety, security and stability in Iraq but the Iraqi heroes, particularly among the security forces, did not give al-Qaeda the opportunity to accomplish their operations and they have failed many of the criminal operations. Through the dismantling of their improvised explosive devices and other cowardly works, some of them arrested the massive numbers of these vile and malevolent groups.

  • مسلم فلاح

    2012-3-2

    It is very important to pass a law for the execution of all the criminals who pose danger and threat to the security, integrity, and stability of the Iraqi citizens. Those whose hands are dirty with the blood of the poor people who are helpless victims of violence, terrorism, criminality, cruelty, and brutality should be punished. For this reason, I demand that all the criminals and terrorists who are involved in the heinous crimes be arrested and executed after found guilty. They deserve to be sentenced to death even if after a while.

  • ابو سامي

    2012-2-28

    I hope that the government will grant the families of the martyrs, who died because of terrorism, the right to attend the execution of the terrorists. We want them to at least cool the fire of hatred and grief as a result of the loss of our dear and loved ones because of the improvised explosive devices, sticky bombs, silencers, and other methods used by the terrorists against Iraq and its people in an attempt to break the will of Iraq as well as undermine the political process, and to return Iraq to the days of abhorrent dictatorship, injustice, and tyranny. However, it is hard to go back to those days but we will fight every terrorist and we will not show any mercy to them. We will always keep asking the government to execute every terrorist until the government responds to our demands.

  • صلاح

    2012-2-27

    Terrorists manipulated our country, spilled our blood, assaulted us, our dignity and our money, and did not respect this country, not its law, citizenship nor sovereignty. They kill as they wish and what is the penalty for killing, but being killed, so says the Islamic law. I really demand the government to apply the sentence of death, especially against the terrorists who deserve this punishment, and none other, and I ask the government to execute every terrorist who is captured in response to their crimes against innocent people. They kill our children from their side, and if the government executes these criminals, is it forbidden or what? We ask the government to be strong and take this step against every terrorist and without exception, those involved in working with this organization should not be given the opportunity to live and remain in prison, so that after their arrest their escape from prison is planned, for them to return to work again with terrorism and al-Qaeda. They do not repent as they have been brainwashed and saturated with thoughts of terrorism, the unjust, infidel ideology of al-Qaeda. So the government has to operate to get rid of the terrorists quickly, after arresting them to crush them because this situation is really unacceptable to all Iraqi people, it is the will of the people. It is the people who want to hang these killers in order to take revenge for the innocent bloodshed in our country because of them and because of this deceptive infidel thought because it is the only way to flush out al-Qaeda and its ideology with all our strength, so that anyone who might think of joining this thought or this organization will know that this will be his fate.

  • فايد

    2012-2-25

    It is very important for the government to support the Iraqi security forces with everything that they need, as to the reinforcements, equipment and intensive training that qualifies the security forces to confront the terrorist elements and defend Iraq and the its people. The security forces are qualified to confront the terrorist elements and defend Iraq and the Iraqis. The security forces are the only authority that takes care of maintaining security in the country. Hence, they shoulder all the responsibilities and seek to provide the people with security, not to endanger their lives or allow the terrorist elements to carry out attacks and successive assaults.

  • امير فتحي

    2012-2-24

    All of us are with the Iraqi Security Forces because Iraqis should have confidence in them, particularly after the great success which they have achieved and the sacrifices they have made in order to expel terrorism from this nation as well as to maintain the safety of the Iraqis. I wonder why the Iraqis do not have confidence in these forces which have offered a lot of martyrs when they have been facing terrorism for the sake of achieving safety in Iraq and halting bloodshed which we have been witnessing every day through the criminal bombing acts from the part of terrorism. In fact, Iraqis cannot really have confidence in these criminal terrorists at the beginning, given that the conditions have been bad and terrorism has opted for rumors in order to sow dissension between Iraqis and their security forces. The latter have not been ready and fully trained to be able to face terrorist attacks. Therefore, the citizens were used to the feeling of being afraid and there have been almost no confidence at all in the Iraqi Security Forces. Yet, now that they have been equipped with new kinds of developed weapons, received high standard training, and started to thwart terrorist attacks in public, people have regained their confidence in them. They have been convinced that the security forces are the shield to protect and defend the nation. They have also recognized that these forces have made a lot of sacrifices in order to achieve the current security situation of Iraq.

  • قيس فلاح

    2012-2-19

    We see that al-Qaeda can from time to time carry out suicide attacks against innocent civilians causing their deaths. This is enough for the government to call them the bloody days and of course, this is unacceptable. The process of carrying out more than a single terrorist attack in one day as a challenge is a matter that intrigues me and reveals the reality of the security chaos. The security forces deployed everywhere are just spread-out without interests and a real role. There are operations that are disabled, but most of them the terrorists can perform. We want to eliminate all terrorist movements and end this phenomenon. For many years, the security forces have not controlled the situation in Baghdad, in spite of the provision of all capabilities and support to these security forces. Is it possible that a handful of criminals and outlaws are hard to eliminate and prevent from continuing to enjoy what they do?

  • وليد حسن

    2012-2-18

    Al-Qaeda crime has greatly and negatively affected the reputation of the Islamic religion and the Muslims in the European and western countries after terrorism has exploited their thoughts and manipulated with them and made them reflect a bad image of Islam. Therefore, there is a diseased thought that should be fought by everybody and by the Muslims before the Christians or the western countries. Moreover, the terrorist organizations and groups which work within this terrorist organization should be dismantled and prevented from coordination among them so as to spread this thought everywhere. All the terrorist organizations should be fought, which are considering Al-Qaeda a resort for them through and as we see that most of them wear the same uniform and leave their breeds so as to have a unified appearance and the idea behind that of course is spreading the terrorist through of Al-Qaeda.

  • مهيمن عبد

    2012-2-16

    Given the gravity of the criminal acts practiced by the members and leaders of the al-Qaeda terrorist groups and other armed forces in Diyala province, which included various acts of murder, kidnapping, displacement, and theft of money which led to the spread of terror and fear among the population, I demand the Iraqi Government to sign the harshest penalties up to the death penalty and to execute all those proven to be involved in any terrorist act that raises innocent people's fears in Diyala province, after the terrorist attacks increased against the peaceful people recently, due to the lack of fear in these stray groups of the sanctions issued against them by the Iraqi courts, because they will be imprisoned without implementation of death sentences on them. After a period of time, prison breaks have occurred in many of the prisons of Iraq's provinces or through political deals among the local political on international sides under which the exchange of the release of convicts of the parties is done, making these criminals at large once again roaming in the streets and returning to their evil acts without fear or shame. As a result, the Iraqi citizen is the first and last victim. In addition, such actions lead to bloodshed of innocent people and create a lot of hatred towards the authorities who let their children be killed and do not implement the just retribution of God enjoined in Islamic law which implement the retribution immediately after the verdict of the judge based on the words of God in the Holy Quran: “And there is life for you in (the law of) retaliation, O men of understanding.”