Iraq destroys al-Qaeda camps in Anbar: spokesman
The Iraqi military attacked camps belonging to an Al-Qaeda-linked militant group in Anbar province, destroying two, the defense ministry said on Monday.
After locating camps with aircraft, Iraqi forces launched “successful strikes… resulting in the destruction of two camps in the desert of Anbar,” spokesman Mohammed al-Askari said in an statement.
The assaults came after five senior officers, including a divisional commander, and 10 soldiers were killed during an operation against militants in the western province of Anbar.
Aerial photographs and other information pointed to “the arrival of weapons and advanced equipment from Syria to the desert of western Anbar and the border of Nineveh province,” Askari said.
This has encouraged Al-Qaeda-linked militants to “revive some of their camps that were eliminated by security forces in 2008 and 2009,” Askari said, adding that aerial photos showed 11 militant camps near the border with Syria.
“Photographs and intelligence information indicate that whenever there is pressure on armed groups in Syria, they withdraw to Iraq… to regroup and then carry out terrorist operations in the two countries,” Askari said.
The Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki called earlier on the Iraqi forces to take a “firm stance to end” the sit-in in Ramadi which is the largest city in the province.
He further noted, “The headquarters of al-Qaeda …has become a danger not only for Anbar, but for Iraq in general.”
Maleki’s comments came a day after five senior military officers were killed in an ambush in the province.
According to military sources on Sunday, the commander of the army’s Seventh Division and the commander of its 28th Brigade as well as several other high-ranking officers were among those killed in the attack.
Iraq’s Interior Ministry has said that militants have launched an open war in Iraq and they want to push the Middle Eastern country into chaos.