Iraqi security officials said last week that al-Qaeda has lost 40 % of its spiritual and military leaders so far this year, as a result of the high-quality operations carried out by security forces.
"Military and intelligence reports confirmed this percentage, as more than 70 senior leaders with the ranks of wali, emir, military commander, or religious mufti, were killed or detained this year as a result of daring operations conducted by the security forces of the ministries of defence and interior," said Colonel Dhia al-Wakeel, official spokesperson for the ministry of defence.
"These arrests seriously weakened al-Qaeda. [The organisation] has fallen into a state of disarray, clearly seen in the way its members are conducting indiscriminate strikes, in addition to the speed with which its low-ranked elements were arrested in various cities," he said.
"This does not mean al-Qaeda has become paralyzed or that it will be unable to launch major terrorist attacks in the future, but it has seriously curbed those attacks," al-Wakeel said. "If it were not for the security forces' sustained efforts in their war against terrorism, the country would have turned into daily bloodbaths."
"The daily battles by security forces against al-Qaeda have made them the best security force in the region in street warfare and the pursuance of terrorists," said General Ali Ghaidan, commander of ground forces in Iraq.
"Since the beginning of 2012, security forces have managed to kill prominent leaders, some of whom occupied the post of wali, in the provinces of Anbar, Salaheddine, Ninawa, and Baghdad," he said. "Others killed held the rank of religious mufti, judge, or minister in the 'Islamic State of Iraq', and some were registered to conduct so-called martyrdom operations. Dozens others were arrested and thrown in jails."
"This, by itself, is a great victory for security forces in their war against terror," Ghaidan aid.
"Security forces still need training, improved military efficiency, and good armaments, but they are morally fortified, have high spirits in the fight against terrorism, and a sincere loyalty to the homeland," he added.
"The number of al-Qaeda elements in the country is very large, so arresting or killing a large number of them will not have an immediate effect on the ground, but it will certainly be influential as security forces continue their operations," said Ali al-Dabbagh, spokesperson for the Iraqi government.
"Iraqis have no choice but to continue the war against terror until the end, especially now that security forces have made their transition from a defensive to an offensive strategy and started to launch large-scale attacks on the strongholds of terrorism," he added.
Aifan al-Essawi, secretary of the Iraqi parliament's defence and security committee, said he was concerned about the continued terrorist bombings in Iraq.
"This confirms the need for Iraqi security forces to increase their efforts and seek assistance from developed countries in order to speed up the process of eliminating al-Qaeda," he said.
"Security forces are achieving great success in making arrests and uncovering weapons caches, but terrorist attacks continue because al-Qaeda has numerous cells in Iraq," al-Essawi said.
"These security gains should not cause us to become complacent, declare a premature victory, or enter into a recession, because al-Qaeda is bound to re-organise its ranks in a larger fashion," he added.