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Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 24 October 2018

Iraqi special forces arrest 10 ISIS fundraisers in Baghdad and Erbil raids

The operation reportedly cuts off a major conduit of support to the militant group 

An Iraqi forces sniper looks on as smoke billows, following an airstrike by US-led international coalition forces targeting ISIS in the Old City of Mosul on July 9, 2017. AFP 
An Iraqi forces sniper looks on as smoke billows, following an airstrike by US-led international coalition forces targeting ISIS in the Old City of Mosul on July 9, 2017. AFP 

Iraqi special forces have arrested key suspects behind an ISIS fundraising group in raids across Baghdad and Erbil in recent days.

Local units, backed by members of the US-led coalition against ISIS, made a total of 10 arrests between October 7 and 9, a statement from the Operation Inherent Resolve reported. Kurdistan Region’s Counter Terrorism forces were involved in the raids.

"The arrests deal a major blow to ISIS's capacity to threaten and terrorize civilians," said Maj Gen Patrick Roberson, commander of the special operation joint task force, said. "This demonstrates that those who assist in, sponsor, or provide financial, material or technological support to ISIS will face severe consequences."

ISIS took over swaths of Iraq in a blitzkrieg operation in 2014, seizing the key cities of Mosul, Ramadi and Fallujah. After nearly two years under occupation, Iraqi and international forces pushed the militant group out of the country after a bloody, grinding months-long offensive to regain occupied land.

The swift collapse of the Iraqi army, which has received hundreds of millions in support, training and equipment from the United States since the 2003 American-led invasion, sparked calls for reforms of military oversight in Baghdad. One of the major weaknesses of the military at the time of the ISIS offensive was found to be overinflated lists of servicemen that included "ghost" soldiers – men listed as being on active service but who either didn’t exist or had bribed superior officers to be able to return home but still draw pay and benefits.

Since then, the government has vowed to clamp down on military corruption and rebuild army command to prevent future such incidents.

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