Iraq zeros in on remaining terrorist hierarchy

[Ali al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images] Gen. Babaker Zebari said Iraqi forces have reduced the number of important leaders from al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations from 43 to 11.

[Ali al-Saadi/AFP/Getty Images] Gen. Babaker Zebari said Iraqi forces have reduced the number of important leaders from al-Qaeda and other terrorist organizations from 43 to 11.



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Iraqi officials say only a small number of al-Qaeda leaders remain in Iraq after security operations have successfully arrested or killed top figures in the terrorist organisation's hierarchy.

"Iraqi forces reduced the number of important terrorist leaders and heads of al-Qaeda and other groups from 43 leaders to just 11," said Gen. Babaker Zebari, Chief of Staff of Iraqi Army. "The next days will witness their destruction once and for all."

Killed and captured terrorist leaders include al-Qaeda in Iraq leader Abu Ayyub al-Masri, Islamic State of Iraq leader Abu Omar al-Baghdadi, and al-Qaeda in Iraq military leader Mahmoud al-Faraji.

Zebari noted that Iraqi forces killed 32 al-Qaeda leaders in military operations carried out in several Iraqi cities, in addition to arresting scores of individuals accused of having links with the organisation.

In the last few years, the government has focused largely on the development of Iraqi forces and providing them with state of the art equipment. Many new divisions and units were created, such as the intelligence agency, rapid intervention units, special forces, and others.

"In the past, Iraq was not prepared to have special anti-terrorism forces," Zebari said. "However, with the large-scale spread of terrorism in the country, special operations forces were created in 2004. They are now operating highly competently in the fields and are making success in their missions in arresting and killing leaders of armed groups and dismantling terrorist cells."

According to government reports, special forces have dismantled scores of terrorist networks and arrested more than 20 individuals accused of being among the most dangerous members of al-Qaeda in Iraq and other terrorist groups, such as Birds of Paradise and Ansar al-Islam.

"The last terrorist leader to fall in the hands of the Iraqi forces was al-Qaeda leader Khalil al-Diwan. The anti-terrorism unit managed to lay a carefully-planned ambush for him and to arrest him in Abu Ghraib, 30 kilometres west of Baghdad," spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defence Gen. Mohammed al-Askari said.

Baghdad Operations Command spokesperson Qassim Atta said that "intelligence reports indicate the collapse of all constituents of terrorists will continue, noting that it has become only a matter of time and continuation of pre-emptive strikes to get rid of the few remaining heads of those groups in Iraq."

Reports also indicate that the number of foreign fighters in Iraq has recently dropped because of the pre-emptive security operations that Iraqi forces have carried out.

"It is no secret to say that security forces managed to destroy 70% of the cells of al-Qaeda and other terrorist groups recently, and undermine the bases and foundations of the organisation that give them life," Atta said.

"For days, we have been working incessantly on drawing up a comprehensive plan in Iraq to strike all terrorist targets in one zero hour," said Col. Ali al-Jameeli of the anti-terrorism unit.

"The bombings that take place from time to time cannot be described as a drop in security or strength of terrorist groups," al-Jameeli said. "Rather, they are unplanned, hysterical operations by these groups."

"We have confirmed information about the escape of six terrorist leaders to outside Iraq in the past weeks after they were besieged and were not given room to move," said Aifan al-Issawi, chairman of the Security Committee in the Anbar Provincial Council.

In the Iraqi street, meanwhile, many citizens say they notice the relative improvement in the security situation.

"The reports that the government publish are true because we have felt the improvement of the security situation in the street," said 21-year-old Samir Radhi, who works at a blacksmith workshop in Baghdad.

"The terrorists once controlled our streets and terrorised our citizens -- now they have disappeared thanks to the work of the Iraqi forces," Radhi added.

"In the past, we used to hear scary names of terrorists who killed thousands of Iraqis. However, we now know that many of them are in prison. We hope that their remnants will be arrested soon," said Barakat Seliman, a 52-year-old resident of Mosul.





    The collapse of the terrorist organizations in Iraq is due to the commitment of the Iraqi security forces and the combat experiences they have acquired through training and by executing their military duties in Iraq. It also results from the government’s cleansing campaign within the security institutions of anyone who conspires with terrorism, and the hard strikes by the security forces that defeated terrorism through directing targeted operations which disintegrated terrorist organizations. This was fulfilled by killing many of the leaders of Al Qaeda and other terrorist organizations. Add on, the solidarity of Iraqis that eliminated terrorism and fought against it. In addition, Al Qaeda’s objectives were revealed, and the Iraqi government hunted down many of its members in most of the Iraqi cities, which put Al Qaeda in danger. The Iraqi government also carried out massive military operations, such as Operation Charge of the Knights in Basra and Baghdad, and Operation Good Omens in Diyala, which has weakened Al Qaeda in Iraq. Al Qaeda operations have clearly decreased compared to the past. The government also tried to rid the hot regions of terrorists by killing or arresting them and leaving them in the hands of justice to put them in prisons. All the previous factors contributed to improving the security conditions in Iraq and enabled the Iraqi citizens to enjoy stability. However, we must eradicate terrorism in Iraq, in order to get rid of this scourge that has claimed the lives of many innocent Iraqis. In fact, Iraqis have suffered a lot from terrorism and Al Qaeda, which kidnapped and devastated many families in recent years. Thus, I think the decline of the terrorist organizations in Iraq, mainly Al Qaeda, is due to the lack of support they used to get from many countries which provided them with money and weapons. In fact, they are still only supported by Iran. Thus, the Iraqi government must forbid the Iranian government from supporting terrorism, by closing the borders and guarding them as needed, so that terrorists will no longer sneak into Iraq. This will happen after the formation of the new Iraqi government, as it will be a patriotic and an elected government, and it will work to comfort the great Iraqis.

  • ابوالزيت


    Terrorism today is no longer capable of taking the initiative it did in the past, when it was capable of attacking any place easily and simply; however, the terrorists have been hidden in their holes like rats, waiting for any opportunity to achieve any security breach in order to gain some media attention and to inflict losses among the Iraqis. Hence, we must continue in our massive security efforts, ‎in order to achieve the desired goal by all Iraqis, namely, the elimination of al-Qaeda and terrorist organizations, with their different names, forms, and ideologies, to get Iraq back on track and restore security and stability. After that, the procession of construction and reconstruction will move ahead in stable and steady steps, to rid Iraq of the blind and dirty terrorism and to guide it to a safety shore.

  • فرحان البراري


    With respect to the successive events that occur at the security level in Iraq, I believe that al-Qaeda is agonizing because of the successive blows from the Iraqi security forces, which are working on hunting down terrorism in every inch of Iraq. In fact, the arrest of three prominent leaders of this criminal organization in the last period indicates the strength and vivacity of the Iraqi forces, and it's now considered a strong superpower in achieving their targets precisely, as a result of the increased capability of these security services and their reliance on activating the intelligence role. The latter was able to quickly infiltrate into a lot of terrorist and criminal networks, and thus deliver relevant information precisely to the concerned executive bodies. This job has contributed to the arrest of several symbols and leaders of al-Qaeda in Iraq. Together with this, the increased security awareness of Iraqis has contributed significantly to besieging the evil and dark terrorist forces deployed in Iraq. Besides, every citizen develops a sense of responsibility towards his homeland, rather than putting that responsibility solely upon the shoulders of the security services. By so doing, the protection of Iraq has become everyone's responsibility. Therefore, al-Qaeda members are now hunted down by all the Iraqis, and this has destabilized them and facilitated their fall like autumn leaves in the face of the strong Iraqi wind that came to claim the lives of the dirty al-Qaeda members and anyone who adopts violence. The fact that al-Qaeda leaders are being arrested by the security forces is considered a great and important achievement, as they will help the security forces a great deal to expose the terrorist plans and weapons caches. They will also report on their terrorist fellows by making confessions, and this will definitely lead to the weakening of al-Qaeda in Iraq.

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    I agree that Iraq will rise again and that such acts will continue and will not stop, as the security forces are imposing their control, and as there is the workforce and the will of the brave Iraqi people. Even if workers, as well as engineers, supervisors and contracting companies are threatened, they will not give up working, because they want to contribute to the reconstruction of Iraq and help bring it back to normal. These companies stopped working for a period of time, over five years, due to terrorists who used to destroy and threaten all the reconstruction projects and works. Then, many of the employees of these projects were subject to intimidation, threats and murder, because the terrorists were at their best and took advantage of the period when the Iraqi security forces were being built to fight terrorism. Now, that period is over, and the terrorists can no longer carry out any coward operation or threat.

  • يونس


    The arrest of some of Al-Qaeda leaders is very important. It proves the extent to which that organization has collapsed and become weak. It is in the throes of death and is doomed to be eradicated once and for all in Iraq. It is also a testimony to the competence and the readiness of the Iraqi forces to stand against challenges and save the Iraqi society from all imminent threats, mainly terrorism that is inflicted by Al-Qaeda criminal gangs. Thanks to the unity between the Iraqi people and the police forces, Al-Qaeda is being hunted down in every alley and street throughout Iraq. All the terrorists are being stopped and their terrorist acts against Iraq and Iraqis are being cut short.

  • سعد ماجد


    Terrorists used to move about freely and impose their control on some zones, as the police forces were not prepared. The army was not trained and experienced enough to fight terrorists, and the same is true of the police forces. Iraq is not familiar with terrorism; it has never been in Iraq. Terrorism emerged one year or more after the collapse of the regime of the dictator Saddam. At that time, there were neither security forces, nor intelligence services, nor police nor military forces. Iraq used to be open to everyone. The borders were not secured against smuggling and the infiltration of terrorists into Iraq. Since the emergence of the terrorist crimes, which have become unbearable, the Iraqi government has opted to establish the State institutions quickly, so they can respond to these criminals, prevent them from committing further massacres, and halt the bloodshed in Iraq. Iraqi police forces have developed their capabilities, thanks to the assistance of the friendly American forces, which have been in charge of training the police forces on how to fight these terrorists, study their ideology and control their movements. They have also been responsible for energizing the intelligence services, which had long disappeared. Today, they are among the most prominent factors which have led to the eradication of terrorism, as they have helped to paralyze the movement of terrorists all over the country. Terrorists have been brought under control militarily by the police forces, and on the civilian side by Iraqi citizens.

  • منذر العادلي


    Al-Qaeda follows an inhuman approach through which they persuade the young people by brainwashing them, telling them that they will go to paradise for committing suicide. The terrorist ideology encourages the spread of the culture of violence and of killing people by using all malicious methods and techniques, and considering that an easy task.

  • جمال هاني


    The Arab brothers didn’t help Iraq although it had suffered from its fight against terrorism and from a deteriorating economic situation, but they left it alone especially The Iraqi forces that were in a struggle they were not ready for. No Arab country sent its forces to Iraq, even though theirs were trained and ready. Nor did they call for sending forces to secure Iraq, as it is a brother Arab country. Iraq had long supported all these Arab countries but they didn’t help it. Iraq relied on itself and has now recovered, eradicated terrorism and challenged those who want to hurt it.

  • ياسر


    Formerly, terrorists used to attack the police stations repeatedly and army headquarters without fear, because they knew that the Security Forces were being formed. The government and the friendly countries cooperated to develop their skills until they reached this level, which enabled them to fight the most dangerous ideology in the world, which is terrorist ideology. Terrorism does not have an organized army with which to have a direct confrontation. Its members are killers and criminals brainwashed by their fake Sheikhs. Every one of them is like a bomb or an improvised explosive device walking in the street, knowing he is going to die at any moment. Despite all this, the Iraqi Security Forces were able to understand their ideology and mindset in a good way, to be able to put themselves into their shoes and arrest them.

  • هيثم رياض


    Through my follow up, I see that the Iraqi security forces are now capable, and after their extensive study of terrorism, its ideology and the ways to address and control it, have begun to realize what they do, and began to impose real control over terrorism and the areas where it was widely spread, because there might still be sleeper cells that are willing to work one day in the field of terrorism, or to carry out destructive acts against the citizens. Today, for example, we find that all the cities and provinces which were previously under the control of terrorism and terrorists are now stable and secured, and normal life has returned, because terrorists have lost their control, they are defeated and are no longer able to carry out the crimes they used to carry out against the people who didn’t support them or collaborate with them. They were also closing shops, raping women and killing anyone who disturbed them or tried to oppose them.

  • نبيل جميل


    The successive daily attacks against members and leaders of al Qaeda indicate that Iraq is currently a different country than it was in the past, at the time of the former Baathist criminal regime that never allowed the courts to fulfill their role, when the trials were carried out in the streets by the Baathist leaders. Now, despite the fact that we so badly want to take revenge on the terrorists we want them to be legally executed, in order to present a true picture of how different the country is now.

  • خانم


    The evolution of the Security Services, their ability to carry out operations, their strategic development through the study of Al-Qaeda's methods and its criminal members, keeping up with their methods through the careful follow-up of their activities, the evolution of their tactics and their constant work to change the security plans and focus on intelligence efforts, have enabled the Security Services to arrest Al-Qaeda’s criminal members. Of late, there has been focus on quality operations in order to strike this terrorist organization, to destabilize and disintegrate it. In fact, the security forces have succeeded in arresting chiefs and leaders of Al-Qaeda. For instance, the Al-Qaeda leader known as “Wali Baghdad,” who has harmed all the inhabitants of Baghdad and other provinces in Iraq, was arrested.

  • عبد الحكيم


    Terrorism was, and still is, the main concern of any government that wants to preserve security and stability domestically. We see what is happening in Iraq, in terms of criminal operations against all innocent people equally, without differentiating between them on the basis of religion, color or ethnicity, and at all levels of government and institutions. We know that the government alone cannot stem the continued expanding reach of these terrorists without joint efforts in order to realize this objective, and without the good relationship between the people and their leadership in order to drive away these terrorists. Also, we should focus here on the importance of joint efforts at the international level in order to achieve this, because if terrorism is successful in Iraq, it will spread into the rest of the countries in the region. As such, it is imperative that the neighboring countries of Iraq dry up the sources of terrorism, in terms of financial resources, that they secure the borders in order to prevent terrorist infiltration into Iraq, and consider that the common objective of these countries is to eradicate terrorism in Iraq, not only for the sake of Iraq and its security, but in order to prevent the danger of terrorism from reaching their countries. In addition, it is the duty of these countries to preserve Iraq’s security, not to breach it by recruiting terrorists or enabling their infiltration, or by allowing money to be sent via their countries, in compliance with the international treaties in this regard and the UN Charter, which prohibits interference in the internal affairs of other countries.

  • عبد الصمد عطا


    By the help of Allah, the Iraqi security forces were able to get to the highest peak of the pyramid, the leaders of al-Qaeda. Some of them were killed and others were arrested. So, how did these achievements affect the dirty cooperators with al Qaeda? These achievements affected the morale of each terrorist, and instilled fear and anxiety in them. The security forces’ reaching the leaders of al Qaeda in Iraq means that it is easy to reach the rest of the organization, because the leaders are considered the smartest elements of the organization, and they have been reached, arrested and killed, so what will the situation of the other, inexperienced members be?

  • عبد العطيم


    Osama bin Laden recruits the elements of his organization from outlaws, needy people, those who have grown up in the streets, far removed from a family environment, those who are mentally ill, and the beggars whom the rest of his other elements pick up from the streets, as well as others of these types. He recruits them for his criminal organization, which he founded in order to wage war against the world. But this person did not think about the importance of choosing educated elements, so that he could convince people that his organization has objectives and real plans for effecting change in some reality somewhere. For this reason, and because of the fact that many do not believe in the ideas of this stupid and barbarous organization, we see that everybody wishes that this criminal would be captured, and that this criminal group, a group of fools and morally depraved people, would be stopped. The actions that the elements of Al-Qaeda have perpetrated in Iraq, which include rape, having sexual intercourse with little girls, and even with boys, reflect the image of this depraved organization and its leader, who is the main source of all this depravity.

  • المنشاوي


    We are all with you, Iraqis. Terrorism is doomed to collapse, and Al-Qaeda will soon disappear.

  • محمود سامي


    Everyone who hurts innocent people, kills them, blows them up and scares them will be soon captured by honest persons who have devoted their lives to minimizing the danger of these criminals and completely eradicating them. Perhaps what we are witnessing in the Arab peninsula, mainly in Iraq, including infiltration, explosions, killings and operations conducted by the criminal organization Al-Qaeda in these areas and elsewhere all over the world, is more horrendous than what one can imagine. This organization has outstripped other criminal organizations and armed gangs. It has excelled in hurting people and killing them, which has led to the revolution of the countries on the Arab peninsula, like Saudi Arabia, Yemen and others. The fact that they are victims of terrorism has made these governments rebel and fight this organization and its leaders, in order to eradicate them especially Iraq. Terrorist leaders have been killed by the brave policemen, thanks to the intelligence gathering and their efforts to attain the aspired objective, which is to completely eradicate Al-Qaeda and get rid of its dangers. The direct targeting of leaders has shocked and destabilized its members, confused them,and made them recognize the size of the problem they got themselves into. They have discovered that there are many brave Iraqi men who devote their lives to the security of their people and who strive to take revenge on Al-Qaeda members and anyone who hurts others.

  • فرمان


    Congratulations to the Iraqi people on the glorious achievements of the heroic security agencies in fighting terrorism, defeating it and eventually eradicating it as well as its elements. It is a message to the whole world, showing the evolution of the security agencies in Iraq, and the union and cohesion of the Iraqi people, and their support for their leaders in order to protect Iraqi society from the threat of terrorism and terrorist organizations.

  • شمس الدين


    The latest arrest operations have been broadcast on TV. These arrests are being conducted by the Iraqi police forces without the assistance of the Allied Forces. The Iraqi police forces have succeeded in arresting terrorists based upon the intelligence gathering. In fact, many Iraqis have provided the police forces with information about any suspicious movements by persons who probably belong to terrorist organizations. These pieces of information are then investigated by the police forces till they capture them. The arrested terrorists will guide the police forces to the places and the hideouts of the remaining terrorists who belong to this organization.

  • سارا


    God welling Iraq will achieve victory.

  • حكمت قادر


    Terrorism is a backward ideology, because its leaders are “mentally retarded.” They still don’t know what they are looking for, and they are unable to define their objectives. Are they seeking to collect money, to kill innocent people, scholars and science, doctors and teachers, to blow up mosques, Holy Shrines and churches? What do terrorist leaders aim to do? Do they aim to sow sectarian dissension in order to weaken Iraqi unity, and to bring about a civil war? Terrorists have tried all these acts, but in vain. They failed to break the Iraqis’ unity. On the contrary, the Iraqi people have stood firm against terrorism, followed their leadership and obeyed their orders which has increased the trust and confidence between the people, the government and the police forces. That’s why the operations of terrorists have declined in the last years.

  • 2010-5-27

    These criminals burden society and spread terror in it. That’s why they must be severely punished, to put an end to such deeds and to prevent anyone from doing the same deeds and stay away from it. We ask the Iraqi government to impose the harshest sanctions on these criminals and terrorists.

  • سلمان


    Al-Qaeda members will not be able to manipulate people's minds, nor will they be able to disseminate their venom in the minds of young male or female believers either. Thus, their heinous acts and activities will become obvious, and they will no longer be able to exploit citizens, given their lack of knowledge about Islamic religion and its teachings. Undoubtedly, honest religious scholars will be the targets of terrorists, to prevent them from sensitizing people and making them aware of their true religion. They are the most serious threat to them, and their words and sermons are mightier than their rockets and missiles. Therefore, we call upon the governments throughout the world to provide protection for these few good men, who condemn all acts of terror, who guide people to the path of Allah without any distortion, and who spread religion through righteousness and truth. They are an important weapon at our disposal, and thus we must protect them. By sensitizing the citizens, they relieve people of the evils of terrorism and the terrorists’ ideology and doctrine. They also liberate the citizens from the poisons of religious Sheikhs, who spread the ideology of terrorism through their “poisoned sermons” and through their insinuations. The government and the Security Forces must see to the protection of these few good men from the evils of terrorists and their weapons, so that they can spread goodness, love and peace among the same people and among Muslims all over the world.

  • وليد


    God willing, terrorism has finally been eradicated in Iraq. Since their defeat, terrorists have been prevented from carrying out their terrorist acts freely. The atmosphere of security has reigned over the country. The terrorists have no chance to impose their control over the country. In retaliation, terrorists still try to draw attention; but the reality is that terrorism is gone for good. TV channels give no importance to the dark side, but focus rather on the progress in Iraq. The news media no longer broadcast destruction and killings, because they are conscious of the end of terrorism.

  • fares


    Since the Iraqis have been sensitized to support the police forces to eradicate terrorism, stability has reigned over Iraq. Citizens and police forces have been partners against terrorism. They have fought the cowardly terrorist plans. Iraqis have realized that these terrorists have come to Iraq under the name of religion and Jihad. However, Iraqis are clever and educated, and can’t be deceived by these criminals and terrorists, who have killed many innocent Iraqi citizens and destroyed the Iraqi infrastructure.

  • فريد


    Many Arab terrorists have been arrested in Baghdad and Mosul in Iraq. The arrest of these Arab terrorists will enable the Security Forces to reach their leaders and those who finance this organization, most of whom operate outside of Iraq. Arresting them implies eradicating this terrorist organization and getting rid of its leaders. The latter are considered by the rest of the members to be the most experienced. Therefore, targeting them will weaken the organization. These terrorists must be tried in accordance with Iraqi law; they must not be extradited to their countries, because they have come to Iraq and targeted its people. They have created conflicts and killed many innocent people. Hence they must be tried in Iraqi courts and be punished after the investigation to find the other elements has been completed. Then, they will become useless and can be executed to set the example for other Arab terrorists.