The Iraqi Sahwa Conference on Wednesday (December 26th) allocated 100 million Iraqi dinars ($86 million) in reward money for information leading to the arrest of those involved in attacks on the families of Sahwa members and security forces.
The decision came during an emergency meeting in Ramadi, where Sahwa leaders and top Iraqi army and police commanders addressed the increasing number of attacks on Sahwa forces' homes.
"The cash reward was allocated for the arrest of specific al-Qaeda cells whose members were involved in attacks on Sahwa and security members' families, who killed and sometimes mutilated the victims in a way that is far from any semblance of humanity," said Sahwa Council leader Sheikh Ahmad Abu Reesha.
Abu Reesha said the reward would be paid out within 24 hours of the security forces' receipt of the information and the "capture of the terrorists."
"Those attacks are premeditated and carefully executed, through which al-Qaeda is trying to take revenge on the Sahwa members who rejected [the terrorist group's] previous calls to stop helping security forces and instead join its ranks," he told Mawtani.
"The Interior Ministry adopted a plan to protect the families of Sahwa members, who are now battling al-Qaeda alongside the police and army forces," Abu Reesha said.
The plan will go into effect by the middle of next week throughout Iraq, he added.
Citizens wishing to co-operate with security personnel can also contact the joint army-Sahwa committee, said Sheikh Raad al-Sabah, military commander of the Iraqi Sahwa forces.
"Al-Qaeda formed a special armed group specialized in killing and eliminating Sahwa members and their families," he told Mawtani. "It is called the 'revenge' platoon and is made up of no more than 200 terrorists scattered in various parts of the country."
"We are working on breaking up this group by [working with] citizens, since the capture of any one [terrorist] will definitely lead to identifying the rest of the group members," he said.
Interior Ministry spokesperson Col. Hikmat Mahmoud al-Masari told Mawtani that the Sahwa reward is separate from other rewards announced by the Iraqi government.
"Those who would report al-Qaeda leaders and terrorist elements would get a government reward in addition to that offered by the Sahwa," he said.
"The police back up Sahwa forces in their war against al-Qaeda because it is a joint war of all Iraqis against terrorism," al-Masari said. "The plan adopted by the government includes providing protection to Sahwa families, as well as granting cash amounts to pay rent for a second home to help Sahwa men move their families to a safer place."
Sahwa members who lost their families are offered financial compensation and support under various government assistance programs, he added.
Meanwhile, Sheikh Taha al-Issawi, chairman of the Anbar Scholars Council, praised the Iraqi Sahwa Council's decision.
"Al-Qaeda attacks on Sahwa families are contrary to Islam and any other monotheistic religion, and in fact it is the law of the jungle, inscribed by the devil," he told Mawtani.
Al-Issawi said the Council supports Sahwa efforts to fight terrorism "because it is a support for a free and dignified life".