Iraqi crackdown on insurgents – al-Batat arrested

[As a result of Iraqi Government efforts throughout Iraq to push back insurgents, Wathiq al-Batat commander of the al-Mukhtar Army militia was among those arrested. Batat has claimed responsibility for three mortar attacks on the MEK residents of Camp Liberty. It is still not know who the assailants of Camp Ashraf were on 1st September.]

The Iraqi police on Thursday arrested a militia leader whose group claimed responsibility for a mortar bomb attack near a border post in Saudi Arabia in November, police sources said.

Wathiq al-Batat, commander of Iraq’s al-Mukhtar Army militia, was arrested at a check point in northeastern Baghdad, the source told KUNA.

Batat is a former leader of Iraq’s better known Kata’ib Hezbollah militia. (end) aha.tg KUNA 021543 Jan 14NNNN

Kuwait News Agency,

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Iraq starts sweeping operation in Anbar

Iraqi security forces and local tribesmen have started a sweeping operation against militants linked to the al-Qaeda terrorist group in the western province of Anbar.

Gunmen from the Albu Assaf and Albu Ali tribes have entered the city of Ramadi to help security forces clear the city of militants.

Reports said al-Qaeda-linked militants controlled parts of the city of Fallujah.

Witnesses noted that armed militants have set up checkpoints in central and south Fallujah, and were patrolling streets of the flashpoint city’s east — chanting slogans in support of al-Qaeda and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL).

Some reports also suggested that a major militant leader, Hassan Abu Dagdash, has been killed in clashes with Iraqi forces.

On Wednesday, militants and government forces clashed in Ramadi, with militants burning four police stations.

In Fallujah, militants torched some police stations and freed more than 100 prisoners.

Anbar Province has been gripped by deadly violence since Monday after Iraqi police and army forces dismantled an anti-government protest camp in Ramadi, which had become a breeding ground for the pro-al-Qaeda militants.

Forty-four members of the Iraqi parliament announced their resignation after the removal of the protest camp, calling for “the withdrawal of the army from the cities and the release of MP Ahmed al-Alwani”.

Alwani was arrested on December 28, 2013. His brother, five guards and a member of security forces were killed in the clashes that were sparked during his arrest. The MP backs the anti-government demonstrators.

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