Baghdad : A senior Al Qaeda leader was arrested Sunday during US Army and Iraqi police raids in west Samara.
The “fierce gunfights” between the forces and Al Qaeda-affiliated militants have also left 10 militants killed and eight wounded, reported Arab broadcaster al-Arabiya.
The arrested Al Qaeda senior, Abdel-Rahman al-Anbary, is said to have fled the northern Anbar province to Samara, 125 km north of Baghdad, in Salahuddin province after security surges were launched in Anbar.
Al Anbary and his followers had reportedly poured into Samara and used its demography and the unpopulated countryside surrounding it to form a hideout.
A large cache of weapons and explosives were reportedly confiscated in the same raid, according to al-Arabiya’s report. The US-Iraqi operation has been raging since Sunday dawn.
Separately, the broadcaster also showed pictures of black smoke over the Dora area, southern Baghdad, where an explosion may have occurred. The nature of the explosion was not clear. US Apache fighters were seen hovering over the area.
Meanwhile, US-led coalition forces said Sunday that their forces detained 15 suspected criminals believed to be senior members of a special network with ties to other suspected criminals.
According to a US military report, intelligence has indicated that the area is frequented by the network’s commander, involved in weapons smuggling throughout Iraq.