Iraq: Over 800 people detained by army in offensive against al-Qaeda

Baghdad, 15 May (AKI) - A total of 833 people have been detained following the Iraqi military offensive in the southern city of Mosul targeting al-Qaeda militants.

A spokesperson for the Iraqi interior minister Abdel Karim Khlaf told the Arab satellite television network Al-Arabiya that out of the 833 people detained, only 51 of them have been released while all the others are waiting for the results of investigations.

The Iraqi military offensive was divided into two parts. The first part ended on Wednesday and led to the arrest of 560 people while the second part, an offensive codenamed "Mother of Two Springs", began soon after and up until Thursday had led to the arrest of over 270 people.

The US military said it was providing logistics and intelligence support for the Iraqi-led offensive.

There have so far been no clashes because the militants are hiding inside safe neighbourhoods and are avoiding open confrontation with the army.

In order to drive them out, the soldiers are searching all the buildings and going house to house looking for the militants.

The military chiefs have also not ruled out conducting searches outside the city.

On Wednesday, Iraqi prime minister Nuri al-Maliki, was in Mosul to meet army officials and local politicians involved in this new military offensive.

Meanwhile the army has ended the curfew during the day while it remains in place during the night.

Due to the efforts of Sunni tribal militias, al-Qaeda militants have left the province of al-Anbar and part of Diyala province, moving for some months to the area of Mosul where the number of attacks have recently increased.


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