On Monday Iraq interior ministry announced that its forces have torn down the biggest cell of Islamic State (IS) group, located in the western province of Anbar and captured 186 militants. The IS fighters held in custody were charged with committing terrorist activities ranging from planting bombs, executing suicide attacks and assaulting military personnel.
At the press conference held on Monday, Saad Maan, spokesman of Baghdad Operations Command said, “A joint force captured the biggest IS cell in Anbar responsible for suicide attacks, planting roadside bombs and assassinating military personnel on the international highway west of the country.” The press conference was also attended by head of Anbar’s provincial council Ahmed al-Alwani.
Al-Alwani has urged the Ministry of Interior and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi to support the directorate of intelligence and counter terrorism in Anbar in controlling IS.
As reported by Xinhua news agency the detained IS fighters signed their confessions. Some of captives received death penalty pending on death row.
The IS also known as Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) emerged from Al-Qaeda of Iraq and formally separated from the latter in 2014. Its main agenda is to establish a caliphate across Iraq, Syria and beyond, where the territory would be governed by Sharia Law. IS is regarded as one of the most influential terrorist groups in the world, infamous for carrying out public executions, crucifixions and other acts.
In December 2017, Iraqi forces and the Syrian Democratic Forces with the help of US troops liberated about 97% of the territory and people captured by the extremist militant group. However, the territory has not been fully recovered as some the IS fighters infiltrated in urban areas or resorted to deserts and rough terrain as safe havens, carrying out guerrilla attacks from time to time against the security forces and civilians.
To highlight the issue pertaining to the crimes committed by IS, Iraqi President Barham Salih met Karim Khan, the UN Special Adviser and Head of the Investigative Team at As Salam Palace in Baghdad on Monday. He urged for UN’s support in speeding up the documentation of the crimes and collecting evidence of IS violation of human rights, indicating how Iraqis of all sects suffered from the brutality of the terrorist organization.