Iraqi forces make more arrests in anti-ISIS crackdown as attack kills soldier

The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service announced on Sunday that it had arrested of a senior member of the Islamic State in the western city of Fallujah after a terrorist attack by the group killed a soldier and wounded two others at an Iraqi army post in a town south of Kirkuk.

The Counter-Terrorism Service posted on its Twitter account that its forces were able to “arrest the security official of the Fallujah region, in continuation of the pursuit of terrorist networks.” The service did not indicate the identity of the detainee, nor did it publish his photo, an often questionable practice that Iraqi security forces.

In a similar operation in Anbar province, where Fallujah is located, the anti-terror agency announced that it had arrested a “wanted terrorist” and had found two weapons and ammunition caches in the Khalidiya area, found by relying on confessions of previous detainees to locate him.

Over the past few days, Iraqi security forces have launched a number of security campaigns to track down Islamic State sleeper cells in areas that were previously under their control.

On Thursday in Mosul, Iraqi police arrested what was they said was a chief figure in the extremist organization, its so-called Mufti in Mosul. During the Islamic State’s occupation of the city of Mosul in 2014, Shifa issued a fatwa, a religious edict, authorizing the bombing of the prophet Jonah’s tomb in the city in 2014.

Three days earlier, the Iraqi military communications center announced the arrest of six other alleged terrorists.

Iraq declared victory over the Islamic State in 2017, but senior military leaders have warned that the organization is still maintaining activity through sleeper cells, exercising the strongest influence in tracts rural Iraq.

From their hideouts in bleak and inhospitable parts of the country, the terror group’s sleeper cells have planned and launched a series of attacks on security forces in Nineveh, Anbar, Salahuddin, Diyala, and Kirkuk provinces.

Members of the group killed an Iraqi soldier and wounded two others late Saturday as they attacked an Iraqi army barracks in the town of Daquq, south of Kirkuk.

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