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Iraqi forces arrest 2 senior IS militants

19-05-2024

BAGHDAD: Iraqi security forces arrested two senior members of the Islamic State (IS) group in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan and the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Iraqi security forces said on Friday.

The Kurdistan Region Security Council announced in a statement the arrest of Socrates Khalil, who was the right hand of the former IS top leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The statement added that Khalil spent five years in Turkiye, but he entered the Kurdistan region with a forged passport and was immediately arrested.

Meanwhile, the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces announced in a statement the arrest of “a leader of terrorist IS group” in Baghdad.

The statement did not provide further details about the detained person but said that he was active within the IS terrorist group in Iraq’s western province of Anbar and north of Baghdad areas.

In July 2017, Iraq declared the liberation of Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, from the IS, which took control of the city in 2014.

The security situation in Iraq has improved since the defeat of the IS in 2017. However, IS remnants have sneaked into urban centers, deserts, and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians?

The Kurdish Regional Security Council announced in a statement on Friday that it captured a senior Islamic State figure, Socrates Khalil.

Khalil was known to be a confidant of the late Islamic State leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

“After spending five years in Turkey, Khalil returned to Kurdistan with a forged passport and was swiftly apprehended,” the statement said.

Khalil made bombs for the Islamic State and was entrusted by al-Baghdadi with various major operations, the statement added, saying that he was instrumental in the 2014 Islamic State takeover of Mosul, and participated in many battles against Iraqi forces and the Peshmerga forces.

Meanwhile, the two main Kurdish political parties, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan, each maintain an independent security apparatus. The federal constitution provides the Kurdistan Regional Government the right to maintain internal security forces, but the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan and the Kurdistan Democratic Party separately controlled additional Peshmerga military units, as well as separate police forces under nominal Kurdistan Regional Government Ministry of Interior control. The constitution also allows for a centralized, separate Asayish internal security service; however, the Kurdistan Democratic Party and Patriotic Union of Kurdistan also each maintain Asayish forces. The Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan also maintain separate intelligence services, nominally organized under the Kurdistan Region Security Council.

Federal civilian authorities did not maintain effective control over some elements of the security forces, particularly certain Iran-aligned Popular Mobilization Force units and the Popular Mobilization Commission. Poorly defined administrative boundaries and disputes between the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and the central government regarding administration of certain areas led to confusion concerning the jurisdiction of security forces and the courts. Members of the security forces committed numerous documented abuses. The country experienced large-scale protests in Baghdad and several in central and southern provinces beginning in 2019 and lasting through mid-2020, with reports of more than 500 civilians killed and 20,000 or more injured by Iraqi Security Forces.  (Int’l News Desk)

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