Iraq vows new painful blows to al-Qaeda

[ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images] Iraqi soldiers display captured al-Qaeda recruitment materials and weapons.

[ALI AL-SAADI/AFP/Getty Images] Iraqi soldiers display captured al-Qaeda recruitment materials and weapons.

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Iraqi officials and security leaders vowed more severe blows against al-Qaeda after the organisation claimed to have a new leader.

An al-Qaeda-affiliate, the Islamic State of Iraq, named a new leader last week to replace Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, the former leader who was killed with his aide Abu Ayyub al-Masri on April 18th in a joint Iraqi-US operation. The announcement was made in a message on an online discussion forum.

Hussain al-Saneed, a member of the Iraqi Parliament's Security Committee, described al-Qaeda's announcement as a "desperate attempt to deceive public opinion into believing that it still has a presence in the Iraqi arena."

"Al-Qaeda wants to say to the world that it is capable of rearranging its ranks at any time and under any circumstances," al-Saneed said. "It also wants to say that the fall of the first line in its organisational structure in Iraq didn't affect the organisation's ability to carry out attacks. However, the truth is completely different from what has been announced."

Al-Saneed added that the intelligence available to the Iraqi government and forces confirms the collapse of al-Qaeda in Iraq in the wake of painful blows they have been recently dealt. "The voluntary surrender of wanted individuals to the Iraqi security forces is nothing but clear proof of that collapse," he said.

Scores of wanted individuals began surrendering to authorities across the country in recent weeks after the interior ministry set a deadline and provided assurance that they would receive fair treatment.

"However, in spite of these important achievements, we have to be careful and cautious by intensifying security measures and boosting co-operation between citizens and security agencies with the aim of chasing the remnants of terrorism and preventing them from carrying out attacks aimed at making some media gains," al-Saneed said.

Recent terrorist attacks in the country are attempts to draw media attention, according to the chairman of the Security Committee in Baghdad Provincial Council Abdul Kareem Dharb.

"Al-Qaeda is most likely trying to attract the attention of media so as to confirm its presence. It did the same thing by committing specific terrorist crimes, such as launching operations featuring more than one attack at the same time and at different locations, or involving the killing of the biggest number of innocent victims," he said.

Iraqi security forces continue to launch raids and make arrests in a number of Iraqi cities, part of a security operation codenamed "Operation Lion's Leap."

On Sunday (May 16th), security forces announced the arrest of a person described as the emir (commander) of al-Qaeda for the southern Baghdad area in an operation carried out by the Iraqi army in the al-Latifiya area.

Baghdad Operations Command spokesman Gen. Qassim Atta said that the arrested individual -- Mozahem Mohammed Horan -- served as the general commander of al-Qaeda's cells in the southern belt of Baghdad and was responsible for carrying out more than 50 terrorist attacks.

"The pursuit lasted for several months during which the Iraqi forces managed to collect important intelligence that allowed us to make the arrest without any resistance from him," Atta added.

In addition, seven of Horan's companions were arrested in the same operation. A team of Iraqi officers is now conducting extensive investigations with the arrested individuals pending their arraignment before the Iraqi judiciary.

During the operation to capture Horan, a large weapons cache was seized. It included 23 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) set to be buried at roadsides, 14 sticky bombs, 5 Grad missiles, as well as maps, Thuraya communication devices, and lists including names of officials and citizens believed to be targeted for assassination.

Gen. Mohammed Jawad al-Hendi, commander of Basra Operations, said that Iraqi forces arrested 13 people involved in the May 10th Basra bombings "and all of them are affiliated with al-Qaeda."

Bombings in which two car bombs and an IED were used ripped the city of Basra last week, killing and wounding 42 Iraqis.

According to al-Hendi, the arrested individuals "confessed to having committed the crimes of terrorist bombings in Basra."

In recent weeks, Iraqi forces also arrested major al-Qaeda-affiliates in a number of provinces. In Ninawa, a Saudi national, Mahmoud Mohammed Salama Bekhit, known as "Wali Wulat al-Mosul" (governor of Mosul governors), was arrested along with a number of his aides. Bekhit was wanted for attacks on civilians and security forces.

Iraqi forces captured 16 individuals in connection with the bombings that targeted the German, Egyptian and Iranian embassies last April. The group's leader, described as a senior al-Qaeda leader and the mastermind of attacks by Baghdad operations command, reportedly trained young Syrian nationals in carrying out the suicide attacks.

Many credited these successes to the security forces' improved training and use of modern equipment.

"The killing of leaders of the terrorist al-Qaeda organisation is clear proof of major developments taking place in the performance of Iraqi intelligence and security forces. This will make al-Qaeda in Iraq a weak organisation living its final days in Iraq," said Ali al-Allaq, secretary general of the Iraqi Cabinet.

"The latest attacks are an expected reaction to the painful and severe blows that Iraqi forces dealt al-Qaeda, which made them bring out whatever explosives they possessed for just one occasion," al-Allaq said.

To combat terrorism, the Iraqi government created intelligence taskforces to gather information obtained through tips from citizens and security force members.

"The intelligence gathering effort has led to the discovery of other cells that have links with al-Qaeda leaders across the world, and this will enable other countries to avoid the danger and terrorist activity," al-Allaq said.

Military operations will "continue to chase all the new leaders of al-Qaeda and their fate will be like that of their predecessors," Atta said.

"We're determined to inflict defeat on all the terrorists and to deal them the most painful blows," Atta added. "We won't give them a chance to rebuild their terrorist organisation anew to threaten the security of our country. We will be ready for them wherever they go."

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  • READER COMMENTS

    2010-9-19

    Killing and exploding the Shiite visitors and the targeting of Al-Arabiya Channel a few days ago, as well as the attacks against the members of the Sahwa forces, were all carried out by Al-Qaeda’s mujahidin. Al-Qaeda entered Iraq to fight the American occupiers, but today, the U.S. occupiers have delivered everything to the Iraqis, and the mission of the mujahidin has ended. The members of the Sahwa forces confirmed this; however, the mujahidin lack any sense, and they wanted to stay. Hence, they decided to kill the Shia and members of the Sahwa forces to justify their stay. Dear mujahidin, the Iraqis do not want you, and it is un-Islamic behavior to be burdensome guests. If you want to perform jihad, then perform it away from Iraq.

  • مشتاق

    2010-6-10

    Terrorism and its members within the terrorist organization of Al-Qaeda were the main cause for Iraq’s delayed progress, and they slowed the speed with which Iraq should have progressed, because they were fighting against development, and were trying to compromise any step forward taken by the Iraqi government for the sake of Iraq, its people and its development. Terrorists were carrying out their evil and filthy plots so that Iraq would not achieve any progress whatsoever. They were trying to halt Iraq’s progress and advancement. Indeed, the terrorist and criminal operations which they carried out were a cause for its delayed progress all these years, during which nothing remarkable took place, for several reasons. Firstly, because of the government’s preoccupation with building up the security forces and the intelligence agencies, the police and the army, and training and arming them so that they would be able to eradicate terrorism and gain control of the security situation in Iraq; this is one aspect. On the other hand, there were the terrorists and their filthy activities, which targeted oil wells and pipelines in order to delay the export of oil from Iraq. Also, they targeted the infrastructure and the government facilities, ministries, and any other projects that the government wanted to execute, as the terrorists were targeting its workers and contractors, by kidnapping them or their children in order to demand huge ransoms. All of this has caused companies and contractors to delay coming to Iraq, so that it could experience massive investments and development projects in various areas of the economy, etc.

  • همام عايد كامل

    2010-6-6

    Al-Qaeda terrorists are only interested in money, and they are capable of doing anything for money, and this is what Saddam gave them, because they are criminals and mercenaries who give nothing to the community. Saddam gave them a lot of money in order to destroy the Iraqi people. Indeed, the situation after the fall of the regime continued normally for a short time, but then we began to witness the assassinations carried out against the officers, then the tribal leaders, and the prominent officials, and after that, they began to target innocent people because of their identities, and then they started the displacement operations that deteriorated the conditions of many Iraqi families in Iraq. Displacement negatively affected the people's lives and was a reason behind the destruction of many Iraqi families, who left their homes and went to live in a tent or in unfinished houses in a different area, because of the terrorist threat to them. Everything was organized and planned from the beginning, and I mentioned showing that these were plans and stages. Whenever a plan fails, the terrorists move to the next one.

  • مهند رياض

    2010-6-6

    No one was spared from of terrorism and its members. No public sector has been spared from destruction and sabotage. This organized vandalism and destruction still aim to harm Iraq and its people, and burn all that is beautiful and wonderful in this country. They want to influence the ongoing political process in Iraq and return Iraq to its previous situation under the former dictatorial regime, with its oppression and mass graves. This terrorist organization has in its vocabulary only items of death, destruction and the decadence of society. This is what we see from their bombings, targeting civilians, innocent children and adults, men and women alike without discrimination, as well as ministries and governmental departments and projects that provide services to the Iraqis, such as power stations, sewage systems, and drinking water treatment. All they want is to halt the progress and development of society, and to satisfy their sick souls and dead conscience. They were and are still targeting as many people as possible to harm them. They target populations in the markets and the football stadiums, and even funerals have not been spared from their booby-trapped cars. Their main objective is to cause as much damage as possible among civilians, in order to bring about a state of confusion and to destabilize the Iraqi society. This chaos only serves the interests of terrorists and their repulsive ideology, which makes them carry out such dirty terrorist acts.

  • 2010-6-4

    Blessed are your hands, O heroes of Iraq. These attacks must be continuous, in order to prevent any other attack on Baghdad and its citizens. The suffering of the people of Baghdad must stop, and they must feel safety and security when they go to their jobs, or to the university, or when they visit their friends and relatives, because they have suffered a lot from fear and worry about their lives that might be lost at any moment, due to the terrorists' abuses if they leave their homes. The people should feel more of the security that is currently available as the terrorists are unable to move freely in the streets of Baghdad and Iraq, but we see them from time to time, committing some security violations and implementing their explosive operations that target the innocent people of Baghdad.

  • قطراني

    2010-6-2

    Al Qaeda and its leaders have suffered a lot in recent years, from being targeted by all the Arab states in the Peninsula, in Yemen, Saudi Arabia and Iraq, where they came to find a cemetery of their own after they had expected to receive assistance and support from the Iraqi people. They had expected to create their own state, which would be their headquarters for launching attacks. But these criminals were shocked, as they wanted to rule the world with their terrorist ideology, and instead they faced confrontation, as they were pursued by the Arab countries, as Iraq today is looking for those leaders in the world of terrorism and criminality. All the Arab countries on the Arabian Peninsula and Iraq are trying to eliminate all elements of terrorism and curb its negative impact, as they ruin the reputation of Arabs and Islam. Many al-Qaeda leaders were killed through the organized attacks taking place against them, wherever they were found, as soon as any information was received indicating that they were present in one of these countries. The killing of al-Qaeda leaders and members in these countries will disrupt this organization, its work and its components, and will weaken its body, because targeting the leaders is the best for these countries, because they are trying to develop plans and methods to carry out terrorist operations. This will clean out terrorism and its criminal leaders from these countries.

  • 2010-5-31

    Many recent operations, plans and strikes have been carried out by the Security Forces to impose the law, to eradicate whoever belongs to this terrorist organization and anyone who tries to take up arms against the government and would like to eradicate democracy and freedom in Iraq. All these operations, carried out by the Security Forces, have had a significant impact on the psychology of all those who belong to Al-Qaeda, its supporters and those who cooperate with this organization in one way or the other. The Security Forces know how to impact the psychology of all the terrorists, by targeting their leaders. Thus, these members cooperating with this organization are in low spirits and frightened; many of them have admitted their guilt and surrendered to the Security Forces, after they have repented and come back to their senses. The Security Forces have greatly benefited from the information provided by these members, as it has enabled them to capture many terrorist cells that operate discreetly. The Security Forces would need a long time to reach the hideouts and nests of al-Qaeda. Thus, the surrender of these people who used to cooperate with al-Qaeda has saved a lot of trouble for the Iraqi Security Forces in arresting these terrorists.

  • جمال

    2010-5-31

    Terrorism in all its forms is rejected. People have suffered a lot from terrorists and their criminal operations. Terrorists have targeted people and the service institutions which serve the citizens. This disgusting role of Al-Qaeda and its criminal acts have deeply threatened the security of the people and the country. Al-Qaeda members have used techniques that aimed to distort the image of religion, and they have issued “fatwas” which legitimize their acts of destruction that they commit in the name of Islam. They claim that Islam has commanded them to carry out these acts. It was necessary for brave religious scholars to stand against them. They issued “fatwas” that taught people not to join this terrorist organization, which has nothing to do with religion, and teaching that they must fight this organization and reject its thoughts. They must clarify to people that terrorism uses religion primarily to convince itself and ordinary people of their acts; that they are criminals and have nothing to do with religion. Thus, it is necessary to fight this organization and its ideology. Religious scholars from different doctrines have started to hold conferences and meetings to issue “fatwas” and to spread culture, to clarify the point of view of religion towards these criminal organizations. They have urged people to stand by their government, to eradicate any proponent of this sick ideology and this criminal mentality. These “fatwas” have deeply incited people to track down terrorists and to arrest them, after discovering the truth about them and witnessing their hideous acts against innocent people, and against places of worship and religious scholars.

  • القادري

    2010-5-29

    These criminal organizations target the Iraqis, and I believe that the criminals and killers have nothing to cover up for their brutal crimes; rather, they have become known to all people and they have started leveling off in Iraq, after the severe strikes that they receive every day at the hands of the men who offer their souls for the sake of Iraq and to protect its people. The end of those criminals is not far off; rather, it is very close, especially after all the Iraqis have united in order to destroy and eliminate this dirty group of killers and criminals.

  • لمياء

    2010-5-29

    The deterrent methods used by the brave Iraqi forces, their continuous efforts in gathering intelligence, and the citizens’ help, have all contributed to the arrest of many criminal terrorists whose hands are stained with the blood of the Iraqi people. They have carried out the most atrocious and shameful acts, which constitute an affront to humanity. Despite the criminality of these terrorists, when the security forces arrest them, they hand them over to the competent courts to be judged. Due to their atrocious crimes against Iraqi society as a whole, some of them have been sentenced to death by the Iraqi courts, and some of them have been executed. Others are awaiting their turn. This is just retribution that must be bestowed on criminals who have caused the killing of many Iraqis, left others disabled, orphans and widows, and have destroyed the infrastructure.

  • كرار

    2010-5-28

    The terrorist Jihad is deceiving. It is used to serve their own interests and to preserve their organization, to make their voice reach other countries, to make deals with them and support them financially, to destroy others. Terrorism wanted to show off in Iraq, but it was shocked and surprised by the Iraqi people, the reality of the Iraqis who eradicated terrorism. Iraqis didn’t only destroy terrorism, but also killed the most experienced terrorists on Iraqi soil, and there are many examples; perhaps the most prominent is Abu Mosab al Zarkawi, who was among the Al-Qaeda leaders. He was tasked by Osama bin Laden with the management of this terrorist organization. He lost him and he was killed like a dog. Since then, the murder of leaders has ever continued including Abu Hamza al- Mohajir, the so-called Abu Ayoub Al-Masry and Abu Omar-al Baghdadi. Indeed, Iraq has become a cemetery, not to just any terrorists, but to terrorist leaders.

  • ضباب

    2010-5-28

    Iraqi people will put an end to terrorism, and Al-Qaeda will be eradicated.

  • تحسين

    2010-5-23

    Wahhabi terrorism is distasteful and is based on political revenge and blood, so we do not want these terrorists to have any role in our new Iraq. We have lost so many martyrs since the first day of terrorism, and the Iraqi people have suffered a lot from terrorists, as they have lost a lot of their sons, wives, children, men and the elderly, because of the many terrorist operations performed by terrorists. In addition to the death of large numbers of people, there are also very large numbers of wounded people, who cannot forget what happened to them because of terrorism; some of them have become permanently handicapped and maimed because of terrorism, which did not exclude any of the Iraqi people. Being handicapped, these people have been deprived of exercising their right to life, without being guilty of any sin, except that they were ordinary people looking for work in order to provide a living for their children. They did nothing wrong except that they lived in Iraq, against which terrorism wants to retaliate for no reason. Due to terrorism, a lot of kids have lost their parents in terrorist bombings targeting civilians. Didn't they think about how these children will live without their parents? Didn't they think about what their parents were guilty of, to die this way? Terrorism does not care about anything but destruction and murder only, because that is its policy, which has now become clear to the whole world. What they did in Iraq has shown the world their barbarism, hatred and reality. Terrorism has become detested in every corner of this land, and is not welcome anywhere, because the world has now revealed the truth about terrorism. ]Comment was truncated because of the length[

  • عبد الجليل

    2010-5-23

    Since the collapse of the Iraqi regime in 2003 and to this day, terrorism has been trying to destroy Iraq. There are still some people who are sick in their souls, who are deceived by money and hold bad intentions against Iraq. They are trying again and again, but they get nowhere, because they have chosen the wrong place for planting their vicious doings. They have chosen a land in which God has planted the seeds of kindness and love among their sons.

  • د. طلال

    2010-5-22

    Iraq has and will always attract the great nations because of its huge petroleum reserves, its strategic geographic position in the region, and its impact on the situation in Iran, Syria and the Gulf Countries. The neighboring countries have always tried to worsen the situation in Iraq by directly or indirectly supporting rebellious actions. They take advantage of the people’s disappointment, otherwise they can’t support terrorism. Here lies the real Iraqi crisis, exacerbated by sectarianism, which has been deep-seated in Iraq for a long time, although many politicians and writers have tried to deny this truth. Denying such truths doesn’t help to solve the crisis seriously and radically, and this is the current situation in Iraq.

  • سعودي

    2010-5-22

    Greetings. The killing of people and children, and the burning of a country is a fake mask behind which a so-called Muslim or Jihadist hides. These are impurities which have stained the meaning of Islam and Muslims. They want to achieve their own personal interests under the name of Islam. May God help you to defeat terrorists and extremists, who are mentally ill! May God rid you of them, the way we got rid of them in Saudi Arabia. They have become outcasts and rejected by all members of society. They wreaked havoc and killed their Muslim brothers. A young girl has been deprived of her mother; a mother has lost her child, and their pretext is that they are calling to Islam. Where is Islam in all this? What is the argument of the killer when he stands before God, who will ask him about his understanding of God’s Book? What is his pretext when the Creator asks him about indulging in such acts? What is his argument? He already knows the teaching of Prophet Muhammad, who said: “Whoever among you sees an evil action, let him change it with his hand; if he cannot, then with his tongue; and if he cannot, then with his heart.” But he did not ask to change it by force and coercion. God has ordered us to call to Islam with wisdom and good preaching; if religion were by coercion, then there would be no Messengers, and creation would not be divided into believers and infidels.

  • عمار

    2010-5-21

    May Allah take revenge upon Saddam Hussein and every Wahhabi Saudi. O Allah, give victory to the Iraqi people.

  • المحمداوي

    2010-5-21

    The several daily murder crimes will remain forever, as long as the political disagreements are present on the Iraqi arena. However, the majority of these crimes are nothing but ways to settle accounts, and some of them are used as warnings to certain parties. We wish to see Iraq enjoying peace and stability.

  • حسين عبد

    2010-5-21

    The terrorists in Iraq are targeting places of worship, destroying the infrastructure of the country and inciting sectarianism. The Iraqi people are the only loser, and will only be saved by its honorable sons, the truthful, loyal, patriotic sons, and those who care about the soil of their country and its independence, its happy future, and who care about building a homeland of love and brotherhood, and a real, political, cultural, religious, nationalist and humanitarian country, a country free from expiatory opinions, and the divine duty, which was contributed by the previous government by passing it without punishment. A country free from all kinds of quotas and the distinction between the Iraqi and his brother, based upon Iraqi loyalties that have nothing to do with the country and patriotism. They want to build a country free from all kinds of dictatorship, terrorism, violence, exclusion, corruption, and occupation in all of its forms.

  • جبار

    2010-5-21

    There is no doubt that the perpetrators of the crimes of murder and the beheadings are in a single category; they are the extremists of the expiatory doctrine with a small increase in Iraq, adding the fugitive remnants of the Baath. The people of Iraq understand these things, if only because Al-Baath and al Qaeda or any terrorist groups simply could not operate in Iraq if it weren’t for the care and protection, organizing, financing and training provided by countries such as Saudi Arabia, Iran and Syria. No one imagines that the intelligence agencies of these countries do not know anything about the presence and movements of the terrorist groups in Iraq; they have the ability to wiretap around the clock, on all calls, and they have an extensive intelligence presence in all parts of Iraq.

  • ماجد حسين

    2010-5-19

    These are the terrorists whom you used to glorify and hail!! The fighters, martyrs and people of the resistance who will be in Heaven and have the Houris, and and and etc.!!!