General Ahmed Abu Raghif, the Interior Ministry’s Head of Internal Affairs, accused the men of carrying out the high-profile assassination in May of Ali Al Lami, a Senior Iraqi Politician who helped purge members of Saddam Hussein’s banned Baath Party from politics after the 2003 U.S.-led invasion.
Militants have stepped up attacks, specifically targeting police and army officers, to try to destabilize the government as US troops prepare to leave by the end of December, more than eight years after the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
“We managed to arrest the terrorist group that was responsible for the recent assassinations in Baghdad,” Ragheef told reporters at a news conference. He explained that the entire operation to arrest the 16 men, including the cell’s leader, had taken Security Forces 20 days.
Raghif said Security Forces had also uncovered the cell’s main weapons cache and a factory in southern Baghdad where silenced guns and sticky bombs were being manufactured.
The cell was also responsible for a failed May 8 jailbreak attempt at an Interior Ministry counter-terrorism unit jail complex in Baghdad in which 18 people, including an Al Qaeda leader and a senior Iraqi counter-terrorism official, were killed in a battle between inmates and security officers.
Source: Khaleej Times