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10 ISIS terrorists, massive amounts of weapons seized: Coalition

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Ten ISIS terrorists were captured and weapons, ammunition and hideouts of the groups were seized across various locations in Iraq in the past week, according to a press release from the US-led Coalition to defeat ISIS.

"Our partners in Iraq and Syria are leading the way to find and eliminate ISIS fighters, finance, logistics, and media networks," read the latest weekly press release from the Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR).

On January 9, Iraqi armed forces arrested seven ISIS fighters and 19 other criminal offenders in Samarra province.

"The Samarra Operations Command continues its search mission of uninhabited terrain areas, islands and riverbanks with the support of Iraqi Army Aviation units," detailed the CJTF-OIR statement, before going on to add that the operation "resulted in the arrest of seven terrorists and 19 other offenders wanted by the Iraqi judiciary.”

A second group of ISIS fighters was arrested on January 13 in Nineveh province.

"The Military Intelligence (MI) detachment of the 16th Division, in cooperation with the MI unit from the 75th Brigade, and the 2nd Regiment from the 76th Brigade, arrested three terrorists in the areas of Hammam al-Alil and al-Qayyara in Mosul," according to the CJTF-OIR statement.

The three militants captured on Monday were wanted by the Iraqi Judiciary for "participating in terrorist operations against Iraqis and Iraqi Security Forces."

In addition to the capture of ISIS members and militants, Coalition-trained Iraqi forces found and confiscated a large amount of weapons and ammunition in several hideouts and safe houses around Iraq, including caches of explosives, booby-traps, light and heavy weaponry, mortars, rockets and anti-tank missiles.

Weapons caches and materials intended for the manufacture of explosive devices were captured in Anbar, Kirkuk, Baghdad, Salahadin, Nineveh and Diyala provinces.    

"Removing Daesh fighters, weapons and IED material remains a top priority as Daesh continues to plot attacks against innocent civilians and our partners throughout Iraq and northeast Syria," read the Coalition’s concluding statement.

At the very end of December 2019, the Iraqi army started a new phase in the fight against ISIS, two years after the group was declared defeated in Iraq.

This constitutes the eighth phase of the "Will of Victory" anti-ISIS operation that first started on July 7, and aims to clear ISIS sleeper cells out of sparsely populated desert and mountainous areas in Iraq.

In the wake of increased tensions between the US and Iran after the US assassination of an Iranian general on Iraqi soil in the first week of January, the Coalition temporarily suspended its counter-ISIS and training missions in Iraq to focus on force protection. Shiite blocs of the Iraqi Parliament outraged at the lack of respect for their country's sovereignty also passed a resolution calling for the expulsion of all foreign troops in Iraq. 

The United States rejected a request from caretaker Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi after the resolution to start a withdrawal process, and announced on Wednesday that the Coalition would resume joint operations against ISIS in Iraq.  However, this latest press release quoted Coalition spokesperson Colonel Myles B. Caggins III as indicating that the mission to train local forces “remains paused.”

Kurdish and Sunni factions of Iraqi Parliament, along with the leadership of the Kurdistan Regional government, still support a continued Coalition presence in Iraq.
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