US-Iraqi forces arrest suspected members of Daesh funding network

Iraqi Special Forces troops take up positions to engage Daesh fighters in Mosul in this November 11, 2016 photo. Iraqi and US troops on Thursday arrested 10 suspected members of a network that provided funding for Daesh in Baghdad and the northern city of Irbil. (AFP)
Updated 12 October 2018
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US-Iraqi forces arrest suspected members of Daesh funding network

  • Joint Iraqi-US task force conducted raids from Oct. 7-9 and arrested suspected members of the Rawi financial network, which operated as a “financial facilitation group” for Daesh
  • Daesh fighters have remained in Iraq despite their defeat and have since then waged a campaign of kidnappings and killings

IRBIL, Iraq: A joint task force of US coalition and Iraqi special forces has arrested 10 suspected members of a network that provided funding for Daesh in Baghdad and the northern city of Irbil, the coalition said on Thursday.

The task force conducted raids from Oct. 7-9 and arrested suspected members of the Rawi financial network, which operated as a “financial facilitation group” for the militants, the coalition said in a statement.

“The arrests deal a major blow to ISIS’ (Daesh) capacity to threaten and terrorize civilians,” said Maj. Gen. Patrick B. Roberson, commander of Special Operation Joint Task Force — Operation Inherent Resolve.

“This demonstrates that those who assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material or technological support to ISIS will face severe consequences.”

Iraq declared victory over the militant group in December after retaking swathes of territory it held but its fighters have since then waged a campaign of kidnappings and killings.

Separately, an army officer was killed and three soldiers were captured in western Iraq after militants attacked their vehicle, security sources said on Thursday.

The attack took place late on Wednesday in the town of Akaz, 5 km from the Qaim district of Anbar province. The unit was delivering food to other troops, the sources told Reuters.

No group has claimed responsibility for the attack but Daesh militants are active in the area.

Usually militants kill soldiers and take officers captive whom they view as higher value targets, the sources said, but the reverse happened on Wednesday night.

At least eight people were killed and 12 wounded in a suicide car-bomb attack on a security checkpoint in the same area last August.

Security forces retook Qaim, which lies 300 km west of Baghdad in the Sunni province of Anbar, on the border with Syria, in November. It was one of the last remaining territories in Iraq held by Daesh.

The group’s fighters have since then waged a campaign of killings and abductions. 

In another development, Iraq’s government has named Oil Minister Jabar Al-Luaibi as head of a new National Oil Company which will serve as an umbrella organization for state oil firms, an Oil Ministry spokesman told Reuters on Thursday.

Parliament voted in March to establish the company, which is meant to manage Iraq’s upstream operations, freeing up the ministry to set plans and strategies for developing the sector.

The decision was voted on unanimously in Cabinet last week, spokesman Asim Jihad said. The positions of oil minister and National Oil Company chief are not related, he added.

“The appointment decision was made for many reasons, including the experience Luaibi has,” Jihad said. Luaibi will also remain as oil minister in Prime Minister Haider Abadi’s outgoing government, he said.

Iraqi President Barham Salih named former Oil Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi as prime minister-designate earlier this month and tasked him with forming a new government. It is unclear if Luaibi will remain after that.

“The issue of selection of a new minister is the responsibility of the prime minister-designate. Anything is possible, we will wait and see,” said Jihad.

Luaibi remains a minister until a new government is formed and approved by parliament, he said.


Turkey suspends over 250 local officials for ‘terror links’

Updated 15 October 2018
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Turkey suspends over 250 local officials for ‘terror links’

  • Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu removed 259 local neighborhood heads
  • Turkey has suspended or sacked over 140,000 public sector employees because of alleged links to the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 2016 failed coup

ANKARA: Turkey has suspended more than 250 senior local officials over alleged terror links and activities unrelated to their posts, the interior ministry said on Monday, in the latest purge of the country’s bureaucracy.
Interior Minister Suleyman Soylu removed 259 local neighborhood heads — known as “muhtar” in Turkish — from their posts, his office said in a statement.
It did not provide further detail on what terror organizations the officials were allegedly linked to.
The muhtar is the elected chief of a village or a city neighborhood, and responsible for day-to-day services for residents such as registration.
Turkey has suspended or sacked over 140,000 public sector employees because of alleged links to the US-based Muslim preacher Fethullah Gulen blamed for the July 2016 failed coup and Kurdish militants.
Turkey claims Gulen ordered the coup but he denies the accusations.
Last week, the ministry suspended 559 village guards — locals employed to combat Kurdish militants — accused of links to terror organizations while 76 were accused of people trafficking and drug crimes.
Turkey has been fighting an insurgency against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) since 1984.
The group is blacklisted as a terror group by Ankara and its Western allies.
Turkish authorities detained 137 people in country-wide operations earlier this month over alleged links to the PKK.