Connect via Facebook

Iraq increases efforts to capture al-Qaeda leaders operating in Syria

Officials are calling on Iraqi citizens to help arrest top al-Qaeda leaders. Above, an Iraqi policeman speaks with a citizen at a checkpoint in Baghdad. [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]

Officials are calling on Iraqi citizens to help arrest top al-Qaeda leaders. Above, an Iraqi policeman speaks with a citizen at a checkpoint in Baghdad. [Ahmad al-Rubaye/AFP]



  • Print this article
  • increase decrease

The Iraqi government is more than doubling the cash reward for information on top al-Qaeda figures, including some believed to be trying to create a new operations hub in neighbouring Syria, security officials said Friday (December 14th).

Leaders and elements of al-Qaeda in Iraq are increasing their movements in Syria in efforts to create a new base of operations by exploiting the current instability in the country, according to Brig. Gen. Hussein al-Musawi, commander of the interior ministry's rapid intervention forces.

They include: Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, leader of al-Qaeda in Iraq; Anas Hassan Khattab, the organisation's general co-ordinator; and Maysara al-Jubury, former spokesperson for the organisation and current operative in charge of recruiting suicide bombers.

Iraqis who provide information on men wanted by security forces for their involvement in major terrorism cases will now receive 250 million dinars ($250,000) instead of 100 million dinars ($86,000) according to Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of the Iraqi army ground forces.

The rewards also apply to 14 other al-Qaeda leaders, including Ali Khalaf al-Majmaie and Jawad Hayes al-Dulaimi, Ghaidan said.

The names of these leaders, who are "the main engine for violence in the country" and whose "arrest will lead to considerable stability in citizens' lives", were posted on street billboards, as well as in public buildings, markets and at security checkpoints throughout Iraq, he said.

Al-Qaeda in Iraq attempting to expand to Syria

On September 18th, Iraqi border guards arrested a gunman in the Rabia area on the Syrian-Iraqi border, al-Musawi said, adding that the gunman confessed al-Qaeda elements in Iraq were planning operations in Syria.

"The man belonged to al-Qaeda and had letters addressed to terrorist elements on the movement of other elements between Iraq and Syria," he added.

"The letters also contained information confirming that Jabhat al-Nusra is attempting to recruit Syrian children and teenagers in an attempt to exploit the zeal of participating in the [Syrian] revolution," al-Musawi said.

The gunman also confessed that "Jabhat al-Nusra is attempting to create parallels between terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria by using the same tactics used in Iraq", he added.

'Instigators of violence'

The al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders have been travelling back and forth between Iraq and Syria since the political crisis in Syria escalated more than a year and a half ago, al-Musawi said.

The wanted men, along with Jabhat al-Nusra members, have been moving between the two countries through Rabia in Ninawa province, Peesh Khabor in Dohuk province and al-Qaim in Anbar province, he said.

Al-Musawi said that these elements are exploiting the Syrian regime's lack of control over its border with Iraq, adding that they aim to create in Syria a springboard for terrorist activities to compensate for losses in Iraq.

They are "instigating violence [in Syria] similar to the way they instigated violence in Iraq", he said. "They are now training other al-Qaeda members in Syria on how to kill, set explosives, fire rockets and manufacture explosive charges."

"They also have links to other terrorist groups belonging to al-Qaeda in Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia and Eritrea", al-Musawi added.

Al-Musawi said the organisation's goal "is not to defend the Syrian people, but to position itself inside Syria".

"They are a source of evil wherever they are," he said, calling on the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) to help arrest the suspects if they are found outside Iraq.

"We hope that Iraqis will maintain contact with us, and alongside the efforts of security forces, we hope to arrest them at any moment," he added. "We appeal to everyone to co-operate with us for the sake of a secure Iraq."

Al-Musawi said telephone lines for the interior and defence ministries, the national intelligence service, and army and police units operating in every city are open and free of charge.

The numbers that citizens can call include 103 and 104, 5603 -- a new line supervised by the defence ministry -- the landlines 173101, 8173102, 8173103, 8173104, 8173105, 8173106, 8173107 and 8173108, or the number 400, which belongs to the national intelligence service.

'We will quickly capture them'

Iraqi Defence Minister Saadoun al-Dulaimi told Mawtani the wanted men undertook attacks that left numerous victims, including women and children, adding that they worked to ignite sectarian and ethnic strife in the country.

He said security forces will deal confidentially with Iraqis who report these figures, their whereabouts, the areas they frequent and the people they deal with.

"These terrorist figures are not only a threat to Iraq, but also to all countries in the region because they are like a malignant disease that spreads and metastasises to kill the largest number of people," he said.

Ghaidan described the attacks the men organised as "massive" and said they killed and injured hundreds of people and displaced many Iraqi families.

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is "the primary engine for all terrorist strikes in Iraq" and was also involved in attacks in the Kurdistan region, the 2005 Amman hotel bombings, and in "acts of violence in other countries as well", he said.

Maysara al-Jubury "is involved in recruiting Arab and foreign suicide bombers and is considered a highly-influential al-Qaeda leader", Ghaidan said.

Anas Hasan Khattab "was involved in the terrorist attack that targeted the United Nations (UN) building in 2003, which killed and wounded scores of people including the UN Secretary-General's Special Representative [in Iraq] Sergio de Mello, and a number of other UN employees", he said.

Khattab is also involved in blowing up military bases and police centres and targeting innocent citizens, Ghaidan said.

"Iraqi security forces are making serious efforts to collect intelligence [and] military and field data to pursue them," he told Mawtani, adding that security forces "made great strides in 2012 in terms of gathering information on them and a full description of their facial features and methods of movement".

"We are optimistic we will quickly capture them if citizens co-operate with security forces," Ghaidan said.

Syrian opposition distances itself from jihadist groups

Syrian opposition members have said that some jihadist groups operating in Syria bear no relation to the opposition and work towards goals inconsistent with the revolution.

Asked about media reports of rising influence of jihadist groups such as the Brigade of Islam, Descendants of the Prophet Brigade and Jabhat al-Nusra in Syria, Syrian opposition members said such groups have no place in Syrian society.

"Do not fear for Syria because of the religious extremists, for in reality, Syrian society does not accept those extremist ideas and has historically rejected them as alien to its fabric, and it will oppose them in the future as it does now," Abdulbaset Sieda, former head of the Syrian National Council (SNC) and member of the National Coalition for Syrian Revolutionary and Opposition Forces, told Al-Shorfa.

Waleed Abu al-Khair in Cairo contributed to this report.



    ابراهيم غانم النجاشي


    What are the cause of this destruction that afflicted Muslims and the image of Islam, where it not for the Americans and Israelis we wouldn't have had to face that evil.

  • محمد جوارنه


    Whenever you want to destroy anything you attribute it to Al-Qaeda.

  • القيسي العراقي


    Dear brothers in Egypt. Beware of the Muslim Brotherhood because they have stolen your revolution with the help of the extremist Islamic and Arab regimes. Restore your revolution and save it from the claws of the devils. Long live Egypt, the mother of the world.

  • علاء هاديالكعبي


    May God safeguard Iraq

  • سميرالسيد


    O God! Help Islam and support the Muslims everywhere. Say amen. Your brother Samir Al-Hili.

  • حيدر الطيب


    Nouri Al-Maliki is Mukhtar of Iraq.

  • خالداحمدالشامى


    Have mercy upon the people of Iraq.

  • كرار


    May God make Iraq victorious

  • ابو محمد


    Trust God and be sure that Iraq no longer belongs to the powerful people like Al-Maliki and others. The Iraqis are great and they all realize the mechanisms of democracy. Even the ignorant people know what Al-Maliki is doing in Iraq.

  • ابو سعد


    O God! Protect Iraq and its people.

  • sho.sho2230


    There is none worthy of worship except Allah

  • احمد ألعرأقي


    The day will come when Al-Maliki leaves and you will regret it.

  • الصديقة


    May God help the slave because all people know well that nothing could happen to them without the will of God.

  • ساجدة للرحمن ابو الزين


    O God! protect Egypt.

  • بسام


    O God! grant victory to Islam.

  • امجد


    We ask God to grant victory to all the Muslim states.

  • حميدمجيد


    Trust God and be sure that the only one who can lead Iraq is Nouri Al-Maliki, as he has a strong personality.

  • هدى


    There is no politics.

  • الزيدي


    O God! protect Iraq and its leader Nouri Al-Maliki.

  • صالح


    O God! protect Iraq.

  • حسن دياب


    O God! protect the good people of Egypt and us all. Amen O lord of the worlds.

  • محمدسليمان


    …….The sun of the morning… the time is fast…today is the Thursday… Egypt was free with me and there were justice and peace.

  • حيدر


    Haidar from the beloved Iraq. I am against Takfir.

  • سيد علام


    Woe to the Arabs because of the western conspiracies at the hands of its children.

  • بيشو


    Al-Qaeda are the people of Anbar.

  • عمر هاشم


    O God! grant victory to Islam and Muslims everywhere on earth. O God! protect Egypt from all turbulences.

  • ابراهيم غانم النجاشي


    May God protect our home and people from the eyes of the envious people. O God! Disgrace the House of Al-Ahmar and the corrupt people among them.

  • ابو سلطان


    O God! grant victory to the Free Syrian Army.

  • خالد سعيد


    O God! have mercy upon our Arab brothers in Syria and make the oppressors attack each other. Amen O lord of the worlds.

  • مروان عبدالاله داحش صليح


    O God! Protect Yemen and its people from the conspiracies. Amen.

  • ابورحااااااب المصري


    O God! Grant victory to Egypt and all Egyptians at all times. O God! Support President Muhammad Morsy, Amen.

  • فرح


    O God! Protect Egypt and the nation of Muhammad.

  • عامر الساعدي


    All what you introduce is wonderful. May God bless you with goodness.

  • البرنسيسة(ola eid)


    O God! protect Egypt from all the evil people. O God! help us.

  • حسين


    They will accuse Saddam of this.

  • محمود الفولى


    O God! Protect Egypt from all turbulences the shown and hidden.

  • ashraf matta


    O God! Protect our precious country Egypt.

  • العراقي


    Al-Maliki will never be succeeded by a man like him.

  • مهندس مصطفي ابراهيم


    O God! grant victory to all Muslims.

  • حيدر فاضل


    O God! Curse Al-Qaeda.

  • محمد يحى


    O God! make the oppressors destroy each other and save us.

  • حسين العراقي


    We want to take care of each other. O God! protect the Sunnis, Shia, Kurds, Mandeans and Turkmen of Iraq and all of its sects.

  • الاسم مطلوبالحيسين


    O God! make the crusaders destroy each other. O God! bless the men of Al-Goutah.

  • على السيد


    Egypt is the pioneer of the Arab nation and without its role, the Arab world will be disunited.

  • ابراهيم النجفي


    O God! protect Iraq from the corruption and injustice for the sake of al thel buried Imams in the sacred land of Iraq. Amen.

  • جمال الجنيدي


    O God! Grant victory to the "Lion of the Nation", Bashar Al-Assad and humiliate the people of the Persian Gulf, who sold their land and honor.

  • روان الحربي


    I liked it.

  • صاصا


    This is the bravest country.

  • عبدالرزاق القاره


    O God! grant victory to all the oppressed people and destroy the oppressors.

  • روبنز


    O God! protect the nation of Muhammad.

  • ابو بشر المصرى


    O God! O God! O God! O God! O God! protect Egypt.

  • 511



  • ابراهيم غانم النجاشي


    This is a very nice site. Galib Al-Najashi.

  • Ahmed


    God bless them!

  • لؤي


    God be with Syria!

  • احمدبكير مصر


    May God take revenge upon Bashar and his associates!

  • [email protected]


    God grant victory to the people of Syria!

  • hussm


    We seek God's help!

  • فارس الرومانسيه


    Say there is no god but Allah and Mohammed is his messenger, O God Save the Muslims from the evils of those terrorists and protect our lands from the enemies of the region. O God! Protect Iraq, Egypt and all the Muslim states.

  • فارس الرومانسيه


    There is none worthy of worship except Allah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allah

  • ابوصخر


    O God! Grant victory to Islam and Muslims all over the earth.

  • عبد


    O God! protect Iraq.

  • احمدالعراقي


    O God! Protect Iraq for the sake of Hussein.

  • حسين جميل


    Terrorism means corruption and we have to get rid of it.

  • حسين جميل


    Terrorism has no religion and it does not belong to us. The Muslim is a brother of the Muslim.

  • بلال البعريني


    O God! Grant victory to doctor Bashar over the thugs of the gulf.

  • محمد الصغير


    O God! provide us with a ruler who rules over us justly.

  • محمدالعواضي


    After the fall of Saddam Hussein, Iraq was destroyed.

  • Zanzounita


    May Allah protect you.

  • سبايكي


    May God curse them.

  • هيثم عامر


    May God grant victory to the people of Syria.

  • اسامه


    We seek God's help

  • محمد


    O God, protect the visitors of Abi Abdullah.

  • حسن


    O God, shake the earth under the feet of this tyrant!

  • حسام


    May God protect every Muslim country.

  • المواطن الحر


    In the recent period, the Iraqi security forces and police continued their bitter struggle against the terrorists and terrorism of Al-Qaeda terrorist organization, which has been trying to recruit peaceful Iraqis after brainwashing their minds in the name of the religion. They make them pathetic while they do these things believing that they serve their lord and religion. However, this filthy terrorist organization exploits the Quran, Sunnah, and sharia in order to control the minds of the simple people truing the person from a true worshipper into a puppet in their hand in the name of religion, while they care only about serving their terrorist interests.

  • احمـــــــد المداح


    Be careful not to fall in the swamp of sectarianism once again, because we Iraqis will bear such a loss. Leave all the other names, hang tight to the one united Iraq.

  • مصري


    O God, give victory to Islam and empower Muslims with Dr. Mursi.

  • نمر محمد


    O God, give victory to Islam and Muslims in every time and place.

  • عبدالرحمن جهامه


    How is the army?

  • جبري الحاج


    A call to the kind people of al-Anbar, stay away from the people with sectarian slogans and we are with you.

  • ميثم الفتلاوي


    I am Maytham from Karbala. I hope the officials would take a step forward to improve the status of Iraq in terms of security, politics and economy.

  • على سعيد باشا


    I see that Egypt is about to commence in a great renaissance and the main cause of that is the patient people of Egypt who are monitoring everything and the judgment would be to history. The current opposition is one of the factors of the success of the Egyptians and the Muslim Brotherhood must work to unite the people. Egypt is the home of all the Egyptians. Thanks.

  • نور


    God damn them!

  • المضلوم الربوعي


    May God be with you, Arabs

  • خالد عبدالله


    Beware.. Beware of engaging in side battles, sectarian battles or the like. The aim is to topple the bloody, criminal regime and we should beware of being fooled and dragged into media warfare or other battles that have nothing to do with the overall popular movement.

  • امانى محمد


    The people are the foundation of the progress of the nation.

  • اسامة



  • كوثر الابطحي


    O God, shake the throne of the barbaric tyrant Bashar. O Lord of the Worlds!

  • mostafa fwela


    God be with you!

  • رزكار امين امين


    I like the website.

  • اىة


    May God punish them!

  • noor


    This is so great and real at the time of delusion.

  • [email protected]


    I like it.

  • احمدخالد


    O God! Grant victory to all the Arab people.

  • البصري


    May God take revenge upon this corrupt government.