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Iraq Report: Pressing al Qaeda in Diyala and the North

6:09 PM, Aug 8, 2007 • By BILL ROGGIO
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army.mil-2007-08-08-090827.jpgSgt. Christopher Burke provides security during
a patrol in the Rusafa area of Baghdad.

While the U.S. conducted a major strike against the Iranian-backed Special Groups terror cells in Baghdad's Sadr City, resulting in 30 Shia terrorists killed and two captured, the relentless operations against al Qaeda in Iraq's network continue in parallel throughout Iraq. Operations are ongoing in Baghdad and the Belts, and the bulk of operations are occurring against al Qaeda's network in Northern Iraq, Salahadin, Diyala, and Eastern Anbar provinces.

Raids against al Qaeda's network on August 6, 7, and 8 resulted in the death of 19 operatives and the capture of 44. Included in those captured is the al Qaeda in Iraq military emir of Samarra, a Mosul-based emir who assists with terrorist operations in Kirkuk, a battalion commander of a fighter network in Salahadin, and a cell leader in a Baghdad's VBIED network. The al Qaeda in Iraq emir of the northern belts around Baghdad, along with five operatives, was killed in an airstrike near Tarmiyah.

On August 5, Coalition forces killed four al Qaeda operatives and captured seven during raids in Balad, Samarra, and Fallujah. On August 4, Iraqi Army Forces and U.S. Special Operations Forces captured five insurgents who were behind IED attacks in the Thar Thar region. A senior member of an al Qaeda in Iraq beheading and torture cell in Karmah was also captured near Fallujah on August 4. On August 3, Iraqi Security Forces captured the al Qaeda in Iraq Emir in Samarra, along with his assistant. Also on August 3, Iraqi and U.S. forces captured two members of an al Qaeda IED cell near Taji and three members of an al Qaeda cell responsible for facilitating Iraqi insurgents and foreign fighters in the Qaim region in Western Iraq.

In Diyala province, the operations against al Qaeda and its insurgent allies have reached far past Baqubah, the initial focus of operations in the province. The Kuwaiti News Agency reported that a new offensive against al Qaeda was kicked off on August 4 "in the area extending from Had-Muaskar area to north Baqubah." This is a region believed to be infested with al Qaeda fighters. Five al Qaeda were killed and ten captured, KUNA reported.

Meanwhile, Voices of Iraq reported a key al Qaeda leader and 36 operatives were captured in Diyala. The 36 operatives were captured in northern and eastern Baqubah, while Majid Rashid Jawad al-Timimi, a leader of the Islamic State of Iraq in eastern Diyala, was captured in the town of Jalawla. Sheikh Abu Uthman al-Timimi is listed as the Minster of Sharia Affairs for the Islamic State of Iraq, but it is not clear if they are related.