Detained man is not al-Qaeda in Iraq leader: Official
Baku-APA. Iraq's acting interior minister has denied that the top leader of the al-Qaeda-inspired Islamic State of Iraq network has been arrested, noting that the detained man is a much lower-level operative of the terrorist organization, APA reports quoting Press TV.
In an exclusive interview with al-Jazeera news network on Saturday, Adnan al-Assadi said the suspect was believed to be a section commander in charge of an area, stretching from the northern outskirts of the capital Baghdad to the town of Taji, situated 30 kilometers (20 miles) north of Baghdad.
"Anyone from al-Qaeda is important … but he is not a very senior al-Qaeda leader," he said.
Assadi also said that al-Qaeda leaders in Iraq were directing operations in Syria, and that a US refusal to sell his country advanced surveillance equipment was hampering efforts to fight the organization.
He added that while Iraqi forces have considerably weakened the Islamic State of Iraq network, it was still believed to maintain up to 2,000 or 3,000 members in Iraq, and its leaders were directing al-Qaeda operations across the border in Syria.
"The Islamic State of Iraq - the link to al-Qaeda - has responsibility for Syria. They send fighters from Iraq to Syria, the leadership of al-Qaeda in Iraq controls Syria and they go back and forth between the two countries,” Assadi said.
The acting Iraqi interior minister further noted that al-Qaeda's hideouts in al-Anbar, Nineveh, and Salahuddin provinces were in areas too large and remote for Iraqi forces to patrol effectively.
"If you have two million soldiers you couldn't cover it. It needs to be covered with satellite and aerial surveillance which we do not have now," Assadi said.
He also said Iraqi counter-terrorism efforts have suffered from the loss of US aerial surveillance in and around the capital, where al-Qaeda is also believed to be regrouping.
"We have tried to persuade US forces to leave their air space surveillance in Baghdad and surrounding areas but they refused. We have tried to acquire this system from them through any means and at any price and still American forces refused…because they say it is advanced technology,” Assadi said.
Iraq’s counter-terrorism forces announced on December 3 that they had arrested the head of al-Qaeda in Iraq in a raid in northern Baghdad. They also alleged that the man in custody was Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who was named head of the Islamic State of Iraq two years ago.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq is a shadowy group that was once allegedly led by Jordanian militant Abu Musab al-Zarqawi. Zarqawi was reportedly killed in June 2006.
According to US government and military officials, the group was then led by Ayyub al-Masri, who was killed along with Abu Omar al-Baghdadi -- another leader of the group -- in a joint Iraqi-US operation in Salahuddin province in April 2010.
Al-Qaeda in Iraq has been blamed for some of the deadliest terrorist attacks in the country since the US-led invasion in March 2003.
Related news releases
- 23.11.2017Palestinian factions agree to hold general elections by end-2018
- 22.11.2017Iran’s General Soleimani: Over 6,000 deceived young members of Daesh carry out suicide attacks
- 22.11.2017Khamenei: Fall of Daesh was also a blow to U.S.
- 22.11.2017Medicine and bread prices go up in Iran
- 22.11.2017Lebanon PM Saad Hariri 'suspends' resignation
- 22.11.2017North Korea punishes top military leaders
- 22.11.2017Russian president, Israeli prime minister discuss Mideast settlement in Syrian context
- 22.11.2017Journalist shot dead at point blank range by police in northeast India
- 21.11.2017Army chiefs discuss de-escalation zones in Syria
- 21.11.2017Iranian president declares end to ISIS
- 21.11.2017Pakistani forces rescue 18 hostages near Iran’s border
- 21.11.2017At least three dead, 20 feared trapped after plant in India collapses
- 21.11.2017Suspected cholera cases in Yemen hit 940,000: WHO
- 20.11.2017Iran president due in Russia on Wednesday for tripartite talks
- 20.11.2017Third round of Iran-EU talks kicks off in Tehran
- 20.11.2017Iraq top court declares Kurdish referendum ‘unconstitutional’
- 20.11.2017Tuck-minibus collision leaves 17 dead in Pakistan
- 19.11.2017Syrian army clashes with IS in Abu Kamal — SANA
- 19.11.2017Militants shell southeastern outskirts of Damascus — media
- 18.11.2017India's Manushi Chhillar wins Miss World 2017
- 18.11.2017Japanese tug boat crashes into US warship during exercise
- 18.11.20173 PKK terrorists killed in northern Iraq
- 18.11.20176.9 magnitude earthquake hits southern China
- 18.11.2017Japan begins disposal of radioactive waste from Fukushima disaster
- 18.11.2017Hariri to leave Saudi Arabia for France on Friday: MP
- 17.11.2017World's first human head transplant carried out
- 17.11.2017Yemeni governor announces resignation
- 16.11.2017Pakistan's parliament restores finality of prophet law
- 16.11.2017Suicide bomber kills nine near Afghan political meeting
- 16.11.20172,200 cholera deaths recorded in Yemen since April: WHO
- 15.11.201748 terrorists killed, 13 villages taken in Iraq's Anbar
- 15.11.2017Opium production in Afghanistan hits record high: UN
- 15.11.2017East China road accident death toll rises to 18
- 15.11.2017Muslim state’s meddling in Lebanon ‘shameful’: Iran’s Rouhani
- 15.11.2017Indonesian police officer killed in shooting near Freeport mine
- 14.11.2017Syrian National Dialogue Congress to be held in early December
- 14.11.20175 PKK terrorists killed in southeastern Turkey
- 14.11.201722 policemen killed in Taliban group attack in Afghanistan
- 14.11.2017Air strikes kill 29 in market in northern Syria
- 14.11.2017Defecting North Korean soldier shot in back, survives to cross DMZ
- 09.12.2012Subcritical nuclear test undermined world peace, Iranian MP says
- 09.12.2012Hamas Leader Meshaal Pledges to Continue Resistance
- 10.12.20127.1-magnitude quake hits Banda Sea
- 09.12.2012Syrian rebels get new leadership in bid to unite
- 09.12.2012Yemen: 8 soldiers killed in ambush
- 08.12.2012Indian, other foreign firms still active in Iran's energy sector