Iraqi forces south of Baghdad have launched a wide campaign to crack down on extremists in the middle Euphrates area, according to the Iraqi commander responsible for the area.
The commander of the Iraqi 8th Division, which operates in the middle Euphrates provinces, south of the capital, announced that his forces were acting on intelligence information that elements linked to the al-Qa'ida in Iraq organization have infiltrated parts of the area, especially northern Babil province.
Speaking from an Iraqi operations base near the Babil Province city of Hilla, Gen. 'Uthman al-Ghanmi announced that new operations were underway in the provinces of Najaf, Qadisiya, Karbala, Kut, Diwaniya, and Babil, where, he said, al-Qa'ida linked elements had infiltrated in response to an improving security situation.
Operations had already arrested seven wanted persons in Iskandiriya, 14 in Karbala, and four in Diwaniya, the general said, adding that the security forces will continue the operations against individuals linked to al-Qa'ida in Iraq, especially in northern Babil province.
Members of IraqSlogger's network of Iraqi staff contributed to this report but choose to remain anonymous for security reasons.