Iraqi forces have arrested seven "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) elements who infiltrated Iraq from Syria, the Iraqi Defence Ministry said Monday (March 11th).
"A force from the army’s 15th Division’s intelligence unit has arrested seven ISIS elements who had infiltrated the country from Syrian territory," ministry spokesman Maj. Gen. Tahseen al-Khafaji told Diyaruna.
They were arrested in the area of Tal Hayal in Rabia district, north-west of the city of Mosul, he said.
Members of the military intelligence "spotted the infiltrators and monitored their movements" before arresting them in a quality operation, he said.
The seven detainees are all wanted for terrorism-related charges in Iraq, said al-Khafaji, adding that four of them belonged to ISIS's al-Jund diwan (office of ISIS soldiers' affairs) in "wilayat Anbar".
They are being interrogated in order to gain information about their activities and their links to other terror cells, he said.
Iraqi intelligence 'highly capable'
The arrest was part of the successful operations carried out by the Iraqi intelligence in recent weeks, he said, as these forces have been capturing ISIS elements fleeing the battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) in al-Baghouz, eastern Syria.
"We are engaged today in an intelligence and information war with [ISIS] to prevent its sleeper cells and remnants from regrouping and carrying out attacks," said al-Khafaji.
The group seeks to undermine "the great victory achieved against it and stir media attention", he said.
The Iraqi intelligence apparatus is now "highly capable of monitoring and collecting information about terrorists and striking them in co-operation with the international coalition", he added.
This has been clearly demonstrated by the ongoing thwarting of infiltrations from Syria, he said.
The situation on the Iraqi-Syrian border is under control, al-Khafaji said, noting that a sufficient number of highly-capable forces are deployed along the border.
"The fighting in Syria is coming to an end," he said. "ISIS now only holds a small pocket of territory in al-Baghouz, and once it is retaken, the group will have lost all of its strongholds."