Members of an "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) sleeper cell were arrested in al-Baghdadi district in western Anbar province Wednesday (October 17th), Iraqi Ministry of Defence spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya Rasul told Diyaruna.
The 7th Military Intelligence Division on Wednesday arrested the 11 members of the cell, "which were planning attacks against civilians and security forces", he said.
"The arrest was based on intelligence data," he said, noting that the cell's members were carefully monitored before they were arrested in an ambush.
The operation is part of a pre-emptive effort by intelligence and security services to thwart any attempts by ISIS to threaten public security or carry out attacks in order to prove it still exists, Rasul said.
"All of our services and forces are on alert," he said. "They are fully aware of the terrorists’ intentions and plans, and capable of thwarting their attacks before they take place."
Al-Baghdadi and the rest of Anbar province's cities are all fortified and controlled by the army, police and intelligence agencies, he stressed.
Securing the borders
Iraqi forces are focusing a great part of their efforts on securing the country’s western borders to prevent cross-border infiltrations that threaten the safety and security of Iraqi cities, Rasul said.
ISIS remnants have made several attempts to infiltrate the border, he said, "but our men were on the lookout and many terrorist infiltrators have met their death".
"We are working with all our power to increase the fortification of the border by following the strongest precautionary measures, which include digging trenches and setting up berms and barbed wire," he said.
"We possess advanced surveillance technology, including cameras and drones," he said, adding that Iraqi forces and army aircraft patrol the border day and night to prevent ISIS remnants from entering the country.