Iraqi forces in conjunction with American troops have been mounting a widespread raiding campaign in outlying areas of Kirkuk Province targeting wanted suspects believed to be leaders in armed groups that operate in the area.
A source in the Iraqi Army Twelfth Division, stationed in Kirkuk Province, told Slogger that raiding operations began Thursday in several predominantly ethnic Arab areas of Kirkuk Province, including Hawija, al-Dibis, al-Rishad, and al-Abasi areas, targeting leaders of various armed groups. Targeted groups include the Naqshabandiya Order, the 1920s Revolution Brigades, the Iraqi Islamic Army and the so-called Islamic State of Iraq. Sources said that at least 20 suspected leaders in the various organizations have been detained and transferred to the 12th Division headquarters for interrogation.
The source told Slogger that the arrest campaign will continue indefinitely, in what the source said would be one of the largest operations in preparation for the withdrawal of American forces.
The commander of the 12th Division Maj. Gen. Abd al-Amir al-Zaidi, survived an IED attack in the al-Riyad district of Kirkuk province on Friday. Three of the commander’s guards were injured in the roadside blast. The attack was the fourth assassination attempt on al-Zaidi in the last year, local sources said, explaining that the commander had made many enemies in the province since assuming command. As in the operations reported above, Iraqi 12th Division forces have targeted the predominantly Sunni Arab militant groups that operate in some areas of Kirkuk Province, in addition to drawing the ire of the Kurdish militia and intelligence organizations that operate in the province.