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Iraq makes arrests in kidnapping of security men by Daesh terror group

Members of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) take part in a training drill at the Special Forces Academy near Baghdad's international airport on March 19, 2018 as Iraq marks the 15th anniversary of the US invasion. (Photo by AFP)

Iraq’s security police say they have placed a number of suspects under arrest related to the abduction and holding hostage of several of their personnel by remnants of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.

The security forces announced the news on Monday, saying that they managed to “arrest elements from the terrorism and crime gangs that are related to the recent kidnapping incident on the road to Kirkuk province recently.”

The statement came two days after Daesh terrorists kidnapped six Iraqi security forces on the highway linking capital Baghdad to Iraq’s north, a main road that has witnessed a surge in attacks by members of the terror outfit in recent weeks.  

Shortly after abducting the security personnel, Daesh released a video purportedly showing six men identifying themselves as either members of the police or the Popular Mobilization Forces, better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, which is mainly composed of Shia Muslim paramilitary troopers.

Terrorists threatened in the video that they would decapitate the abductees in three days unless the government released Daesh female inmates.

On Sunday, Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met security and intelligence top officials and ordered the formation of a special force to secure roads and highways, and to protect travelers, the statement further said, adding that the arrests had been made by the newly-established force.

On December 9, 2017, Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the country. On July 10, he formally declared victory over the terrorists in Mosul, which served as their main urban stronghold in Iraq.

In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh. The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.

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