Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Engaging Al Qaeda In Diyala Province

There is some very good news out of Iraq. The al Qaeda leader responsible for using two women with Down's Syndrome as unwitting suicide bombers has been killed in Diyala. Further, U.S. and Iraqi forces are disrupting al Qaeda's refuge in Diyalah Province, one of al Qaeda's last strongholds in Iraq.


This from Bill Rogio at the Long War Journal:

Multinational Forces Iraq has confirmed it killed a senior intelligence officer of al Qaeda in Iraq’s network in Diyala. Arkan Khalaf Khudayyir, also known as Karrar, was killed during a raid by “Coalition forces” in Khan Bani Sa’ad on Feb. 17.

. . . Karrar was described as a senior intelligence leader for al Qaeda in Iraq’s network in Baqubah. Karrar facilitated suicide bombing attacks in the Diyala River Valley. This network also has been responsible for attacks in Baghdad, “to include attacks by female suicide bombers.”

Baghdad has seen a rash of females used as bomber recently. On Feb. 1, al Qaeda in Iraq used two mentally disabled women to conduct attacks at markets in Baghdad. The bombs claimed the lives of at least 73 Iraqi civilians and wounded more than 167. The women were later confirmed to have Down's Syndrome. A director at a Baghdad mental hospital was later arrested for recruiting the women for the attacks. On Feb. 17, Iraqi soldiers in Baghdad stopped a female suicide bomber before she could reach her target. A female suicide bomber killed 7 Iraqis and wounded 15 in an attack at a traffic circle in Khan Bani Sa’ad on Jan. 16.

While Iraqi and US forces have had success denying al Qaeda in Iraq a safe haven in the Diyala region, operations against the terror network continue. On Feb. 9, Multinational Forces Iraq reported al Qaeda’s network in the Miqdadiyah region has been disrupted, and has moved to an unspecified location in Diyala province, along with other al Qaeda regional networks from Tikrit, Tarmiyah, and Baghdad.

“Numerous reports indicate members of these networks are associated with al-Qaeda in Iraq leaders operating in Tikrit, Tarmiyah and Baghdad,” Multinational Forces Iraq noted in a press release. “The network is allegedly responsible for an increase in suicide attacks in the Diyala River Valley and the construction of house-borne improvised explosive devices, anti-aircraft activity and false checkpoints. The region also serves as a key logistics pipeline for terrorists, supplies and information.”

Task Force 88 killed four al Qaeda operatives and detained 10 during a series of raids in the region. Thirteen house-borne improvised explosive devices and multiple weapons caches were found were destroyed during the operation.

. . . US and Iraqi forces launched Operation Iron Harvest in Diyala province on Jan. 9. The operation initially focused on the Miqdadiyah region, but has expanded throughout Diyala province.

Read the entire report.

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