Iraq Report: Attacking al Qaeda in Mosul
Al Qaeda's network in Mosul has been targeted since the end of May, while a U.S. general briefed on Iran and Hezbolla's involvment in the insurgency. Operations are ongoing in Diyala and northern Babil provinces, however the tempo has been subdued, while further south in Diwaniyah Shia insurgents and U.S. forces traded shots via rockets, mortars and air strikes.
The Iranian and al Qaeda Networks
The big story from Iraq was the detailed information on both Iranian and Hezbollah involvement with arming, training, funding and equipping the "Special Groups" or "Secret Cell" Shia networks. While the information has been in the public sphere for some time, Multinational Forces Iraq provided documentation as well as information on the interrogations of 27 captured members of these Iranian-backed cells. One of those captured was Ali Mussa Daqduq, a senior Hezbollah operative who has commanded both a Hezbollah special operations unit and Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah™s security detail.
Coalition and Iraqi security forces have struck hard at al Qaeda's Mosul network since late May. Eleven senior al Qaeda leaders have been killed or captured since May 28, Brigadier General Kevin Bergner, the spokesman for Multinational Forces Iraq, also said during today's briefing.
Today, Coalition forces captured "an alleged terrorist operative sent by al-Qaeda leaders in Syria to settle leadership disputes within the network in Mosul," along with five other suspects. The Iraqi Security Forces captured "the suspected Mosul intelligence leader for an extremist group" in Mosul. This group is likely Ansar al Sunnah, which joined al Qaeda's Islamic State of Iraq in the spring of this year. Coalition forces recently captured Aman Ahmad Taha Khazam Al Juhayshi, the emir of Ansar al Sunnah in Mosul.
Diyala and Salahadin
Operation Arrowhead Ripper continues in Baqubah and greater Diyala province, however the U.S. and Iraqi forces are consolidating their hold on the provincial capital. Humanitarian assistance has been a focal point of operations in Baqubah. "Since the beginning of the operation, 24 booby-trapped structures have been destroyed," Multinational Forces Iraq reported. "Additionally, at least 60 al-Qaida operatives have been killed, 134 have been detained, 45 weapons caches have been discovered and 96 improvised explosive devices have been destroyed." An Iraqi general stated "more than 100" al Qaeda were killed, and "24 bomb houses [booby-trapped houses] were diffused."
In nearby Mandali, Iraqi Security Forces captured "four suspected terrorists believed to be linked to Al-Qaeda" who "are allegedly responsible for facilitating improvised explosive device attacks that have resulted in the deaths of numerous innocent civilians in Diyala Province."
In neighboring Salahadin province, the leader of the Salahadin Support Council announced Prime Minister Nouri al Maliki has approved the creation of three additional police battalions.
Al Qaeda hit back once today inside the capital with a mass casualty attack. A car bomb killed nine and wounded 33 in the northern Baghdad neighborhood of Binoog. The car bomb was detonated near a market.
Iraqi and Coalition forces continue to target IED and sniper cells throughout the city. Iraqi Special Operations Forces captured the al Qaeda emir of Karada on June 28. Iraqi Security Forces captured a sniper responsible for an "attack that killed three Iraqi sanitation workers as they cleaned the streets." Coalition forces dismantled an IED cell in the Adhamiyah District, killing two and capturing eight during raids. Also in Adhamiyah , three insurgents were identified and killed after conducting an IED attack.
Reporting from Operations Marne Torch and Commando Eagle has been sparse. Operations consist largely of small raids on specific targets. Ten insurgents were captured near Muwayilihah. One terrorist was killed and eight captured during a raid near Koresh, just south of Baghdad. Two more insurgents were captured in Jurf As Sakhr.
Sadr and the South
In Diwaniyah, a southern city where Iraqi security forces have battled with Muqtada al Sadr's Mahdi Army, Camp Echo was hit with "as many as 75 mortars and rockets" during an early morning attack. Three soldiers were injured after 25 shells landed within the perimeter. Airstrikes were called in against launch positions and they were positively identified.
In Basra, the Iraqi government dismissed the security committee and replaced it with the city's police chief and the commanding general of the 10th Iraqi Army Division. members of the security commission have been accused of supporting the Shia militias which attack the Iraqi security forces and British troops operating in the area.