Iraqi security forces have rounded up tens of suspected militants as Baghdad steps up its efforts to restore security in the violence-wracked nation.
Fifty suspected militants were arrested on Monday in a number of raids carried out across Amara, the capital of the southern province of Maysan, local police chief Col. Kazem Neaama told Aswat al-Iraq news agency.
The detainees confessed during initial interrogations to involvement in several terrorist attacks against a number of citizens, the colonel added.
The arrests come a day after police captured a senior leader of the extremist Jemma Ansar al-Sunna militants in the northern province of Kirkuk.
“Kirkuk Districts police Department forces arrested a senior leader of Ansar al-Sunna group, Ghazi Ahmad Kalous, in accordance with Article 4 of Anti-Terrorism Law,” Police chief Brig. Gen. Sarhad Qader confirmed.
He also noted that the man and his group have launched more than 15 terrorist operations in the oil-rich Kirkuk.
Jemma Ansar al-Sunna (Army of the Followers of the Sunna) is based in northern and central Iraq, and includes both Kurdish and Sunni Arab members as well as foreign militants, according to Aswat al-Iraq.
Iraq became a safe haven for al-Qaeda-linked groups following the US-led invasion of 2003 which toppled the notorious dictator Saddam Hussein but also opened the gate for extremists and terrorist elements, believed to be funded by Wahhabi movements in neighboring countries.