Iraqi security forces captures 34 Qaida militants

20:44, December 13, 2010      

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Iraqi security forces arrested 34 suspected members of al-Qaida militant group in Iraq, including the group's leaders in northern Iraq provinces, officials said on Monday.

"The Iraqi security forces have captured 34 Qaida members, including many leaders of the organization, who are responsible for terrorist operations in northern Iraq, mainly in Nineveh province and its capital city of Mosul," Interior Minister Jawad Bolani said in a televised news conference.

Bolani said that the group, affiliated to the self-styled Islamic State of Iraq (ISI), had carried out "terrorist operations against innocent civilians and military bases in the city of Mosul, in addition to some attacks against areas of Christian minority in Iraq's Nineveh province in order to provoke religious strife."

He said that some leaders in the captured group are responsible for facilitating infiltration of non-Iraqi Arab fighters and suicide bombers to the country to carry out deadly attacks against Iraqis.

For his part, Major General Dhiyaa Hussien, head of counter- terrorism department in the Interior Ministry, told the news conference that the detention of the Qaida members came by operations carried out by the Iraqi troops during the past nine months and that many others of them are in custody of Iraqi security forces but are still under interrogation.

Hussien said that Mosul, which has some 500 km border line with neighboring Syria, is playing the major role in financing Qaida organization.

"Mosul is providing some 80 percent of resources to the Islamic State of Iraq to carry out terrorist attacks all over Iraq, including Baghdad," Hussien said.

"Qaida has lost many of its important leaders recently, and what we have now are only cells moving from time to time to carry out weak terrorist attacks to maintain presence on the ground," he said.

Iraqi judiciary issued some 14,500 different sentences against wanted individuals, including 835 death penalties, Bolani said in a gesture that the Iraqi judicial system is playing its role in punishing criminals.

Earlier in the month, Bolani announced the capture of another group of 39 suspected al-Qaida militants, including the group's leaders in Iraq's western province of Anbar.

In April, Iraq announced the killing of the two top Qaida leaders Abu Ayyub al-Musri and Abu Omer al-Baghdadi in a military operation by Iraqi and U.S. forces near the city of Tikrit, the capital of Salahudin province.

Both Iraqi and U.S. officials said the killing of Masri and Abu Omer al-Baghdadi dealt a big blow to al-Qaida in the war-torn country.

The frequent announcements of killing and arresting of Qaida leaders and its militants in Iraq is seen as victories for the country's security forces.



Source: Xinhua
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