Iraqi forces recently destroyed 20 tunnels and rest-houses in the Anbar desert as part of ongoing efforts to eliminate "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) remnants in the area and deprive them of places to shelter.
Army and tribal forces this week dealt ISIS remnants in the desert near the Syria border "one of the biggest blows", Anbar tribal commander Sheikh Qatari Samarmad al-Obeidi told Diyaruna on Tuesday (November 26th).
"Large military units composed of al-Jazeera Operations Command, the army’s 7th and 8th divisions, and tribesmen, on Saturday completed a 72-hour security operation," he said.
"They moved on specific targets in the Anbar desert near the border with Syria where intelligence sources said there were enemy hideouts," al-Obeidi said.
Raids centered on the areas of "Umm Tabouk, al-Shaabani and al-Jazeera, which extend to the north of the town of Rawa", he said.
During the operation, ground forces were able, with direct support from army aircraft, to "demolish 17 tunnels and destroy three rest-houses", he said.
Security forces found various types of weapons and ammunition in these hideouts, including explosive belts, he said, as well as three vehicles and motorcycles.
"A large amount of documents were found inside these hideouts, and the intelligence services later examined the information they contained," he said.
These turned out to be "old records of the names of ISIS fighters", he said.
Many of those listed are known to have been killed during previous Iraqi security operations, he said, while others "were already registered with the intelligence services" and are wanted for trial.
Denying ISIS a foothold
Al-Obeidi said the latest raids were "another quality operation carried out by our forces to secure the desert from the terrorist remnants and to crush their strongholds".
He stressed the need to carry out near-daily reconnaissance, and to comb the desert in search of any remaining shelter that ISIS remnants might use.
The purpose of these continued military activities is to deny ISIS remnants "any opportunity to settle in desert areas and build up their capabilities", he said.
Iraqi tribesmen support the army and the police in all military tasks, he added, noting that "all forces currently deployed in the desert have high morale and full readiness to move immediately on any terrorist target".
"Our intelligence sources provide us with accurate information and are a key factor in our security successes," al-Obeidi said.