The Iraqi security forces have arrested five notorious Al-Qaeda figures in the Western Al-Anbar province, media reports said on Saturday.
Abu Safa Al-Damashqi, the finance minister of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorist group, has been arrested along with four other militants in the Al-Ramadi city in Al-Anbar province, Al-Masleh news website quoted a high-ranking Iraqi official in Al-Anbar as saying.
He underlined that the four other militants arrested by Iraq’s security forces were among the most wanted terrorists in the Muslim country.
“The military operations for combating terrorists in Al-Anbar desert and Al-Ramadi city are still underway to expel all ISIL and Al-Qaeda terrorists from the region,” the official said.
Security sources in Baghdad said on Sunday that Saudi Arabia has hired and financed al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) to fight a proxy war against Iraq's Shiite government.
“Ahmed al-Alwani (an Iraqi MP held on terrorism charges after clashes killed at least six people during arrest raid on his home) and Ali al-Sulaiman (the chief of the Dulaim tribes in al-Anbar province) who are under prosecution have paved the political ground for terrorism and the ISIL has entered a proxy war to fight for Saudi Arabia,” Head of the Security Committee of Baghdad province’s Council Sa’d al-Matlabi was quoted as saying by the Palestinian al-Manar weekly.
He said that al-Alwani who was arrested by the security forces and al-Sulaiman who has called for Jihad against the Iraqi army have created a ground for the spread of terrorism.
In relevant remarks last Tuesday, Aliyah Nassif, a member of the De-Ba'athification Commission, said that al-Alwani and former Iraqi Finance Minister Rafi al-Issawi have had contacts with the Saudi intelligence agency.
Nassif said that a number of Iraqi politicians have good relations with certain regional states, and some countries, including Qatar and Saudi Arabia, spend huge sums of money to support them.
Late December, the Iraqi police forces in the Central province of Babel increased security measures to prevent the infiltration of ISIL from neighboring al-Anbar province.
“Intensive security measures have been adopted in the Northern parts of Babel province to this end and these measures have even been strengthened with the assistance and presence of the army and police task force units,” Babel Police Commander Abbas Abd Zeid Shamran told FNA at the time.
He said that the intensive security measures had been adopted after Babel police department received tips about infiltration of ISIL terrorists from Anbar province to Babel.
Shamran explained that the ISIL members were joining other terrorist groups in Iraq which were not so much active then, but their possible later plans and actions had worried Iraq's officials.
In a relevant report in December, security and intelligence forces in Iraq’s Northern Neynava province had warned that there was an imminent threat of a huge attack by the ISIL on Mosul’s security and intelligence departments.
Iraqi security forces said in early December that the terrorist group planned to set free its arrested members kept in Mosul’s security and intelligence offices.
The warning by Neynava security and intelligence departments came after the ISIL terrorists attacked Kirkouk’s intelligence department.
The ISIL is an Al-Qaeda-linked terrorist group comprised of foreign and Arab terrorists. The group has mainly been operating in Syria for the last two years.
Later in December, a Salafi Sheikh disclosed that the ISIL has recruited many former intelligence officers of Iraq.
“Abu Iman Al-Araqi, ISIL commander in Lattakia, is a former Iraqi intelligence officer” working under Saddam Hussein's Ba'th party, Syrian Salafi Sheikh Adnan Al-Arour said in a televised interview.
Al-Arour said that Al-Araqi prepared the Al-Qaeda operatives who came from Saudi Arabia for suicide attacks.