Eighteen suspected al-Qaeda members were arrested in a military operation carried out by the Iraqi army in Ninawa province, the Iraqi Ministry of Defence said Monday (February 27th).
Official spokesperson for the Iraqi Ministry of Defence, Maj. Gen. Mohammed al-Askari, said army forces stormed several residential and commercial buildings in al-Sahel al-Aysar area, east of Mosul, and arrested the individuals.
He said the detainees "belong to an al-Qaeda in Iraq-affiliated armed cell that was planning to attack major service and economic projects under construction by foreign and Arab companies in Ninawa".
Al-Askari said that the detainees include a "prominent leader called Maysam Ali who carried a fake police officer identification card that he used in his movements between various cities".
The force also seized explosives and ammunitions weighing two tons that were being prepared to blow up a hotel project, a sport and amusement centre and three government buildings currently under construction.