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Largest ISIS Plot in Baghdad, Kurdistan Region Thwarted

Largest ISIS Plot in Baghdad, Kurdistan Region Thwarted

Monday, 29 July, 2019 - 11:00
Abu Ali al-Basri. Asharq Al-Awsat
Baghdad - Hamza Mustafa
Iraq’s intelligence agency, known as Falcons Cell, said Sunday that it has thwarted the “largest terrorist plot” to target the capital, Baghdad, some provinces in the south and the Kurdistan region.

Abu Ali al-Basri, head of the intelligence office in Iraq’s Interior Ministry, revealed in a press statement “major details of the long-running intelligence war led by the cell and other security and intelligence agencies in Iraq against ISIS.”

“The agency has foiled a plot prepared by ISIS elements,” Basri explained, saying they were planning an attack during the holy month of Ramadan and Eid al-Fitr to target locations in Baghdad, a number of provinces and the Kurdistan region, in a desperate attempt to prove their ongoing presence in the country.

He said the intelligence agency was able to thwart the terrorist attacks in coordination with intelligence directorates in several provinces by carrying out air strikes and raids to arrest ISIS supporters.

“The recent pre-emptive operations resulted in the arrest of around 160 terrorists in Nineveh and more than 40 others in Baghdad.”

Four terrorists, who were mobilized and trained to carry out suicide bombings using explosive belts and other devices in Baghdad, Erbil, Basra and some governorates liberated from ISIS, were also arrested in Basra.

Basri hailed the cooperation of “security services in the Kurdistan region during the operation to arrest ISIS militants in Ramadan.”

Security expert Fadel Abu Raghif told Asharq Al-Awsat that the intelligence operation started around 48 days ago.

Abu Raghif said that many national security apparatuses, including the Iraqi intelligence service, the Falcons cell, military intelligence and others, have taken part in the operation to thwart the attacks.

It has resulted in the arrest of ISIS leaders, he added, noting that it isn’t the first operation of its kind and won’t be the last as long as the terrorist organization remains active in Iraq.

Meanwhile, an official from Rutba town, western Iraq, announced that security forces have launched an offensive to hunt down ISIS elements in desert areas.

“The operation is aimed at chasing ISIS elements in southern Rutba’s desert (310 kilometers west of Ramadi) under the command of the first Infantry Division and with the support of the army and tribes,” the official explained.

He said several ISIS bases and hideouts have been destroyed.

Sinjar’s governor, for his part, has warned against transferring more than 32,000 people from al-Hol camp, in northeastern Syria, to camps in Iraq’s Nineveh province.

He said most of these people transferred are families of ISIS militants, which indicates a great threat to the area’s stability.

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