Security

Iraq's Counter-Terrorism Service escalates operations against ISIS cells

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) leaders and fighters on Thursday (June 28th). [Photo courtesy of al-Abadi's media office]

The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) is stepping up its intelligence and security campaigns to eliminate what remains of "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) sleeper cells, CTS spokesman Sabah al-Numan said Friday (June 29th).

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi visited the service’s headquarters in Baghdad Thursday and instructed its leaders "to carry out quality operations to track down ISIS sleeper cells in Iraq", al-Numan told Diyaruna.

The CTS actively participated in the battles to liberate Iraqi cities from ISIS’s grip, he said. "Since victory was declared in December 2017, it has returned to its designated duties."

Over the past six months, the CTS has conducted special security operations that targeted ISIS remnants, secret networks and funding sources.

It is now determined to step up these operations based on the new directives of the prime minister, al-Numan said.

Co-ordination with coalition, Iraqi air force

International coalition aircraft on Thursday evening launched an attack on ISIS targets in the area of ​Hamreen mountains, Diyala province, killing a group of ISIS "emirs" and elements.

The strikes destroyed a camp and three tunnels that the militants used as a launching pad for terror attacks on the main roads connecting the provinces of Diyala, Kirkuk and Salaheddine.

"The attack was based on accurate intelligence provided by the CTS," al-Numan said, adding that the service enjoys "a high-level of co-ordination and co-operation with the international coalition and the Iraqi air force".

The CTS continues to provide intelligence support and carry out its designated tasks, he said.

"The coming period will see important results with regard to the fight against terrorist remnants," he added.

"We have started a new phase of quality work and CTS fighters are continuously receiving training to increase their efficiency and skills," he said.

The CTS exchanges security information with its counterparts around the world, and possesses intelligence about terror activity in the region and globally, al-Numan said.

Iraqi forces have vowed to eliminate ISIS pockets after discovering on Tuesday the bodies of eight civilians kidnapped by ISIS elements in the area of ​​Hamreen as they were travelling to the city of Kirkuk.

The operation has provoked widespread condemnation in Iraq.

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