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Rare arrests of two IS members in Erbil

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On the afternoon of 16 January, according to a statement issued by the Kurdistan Region’s Security Council (KRSC) Counter-Terrorism Directorate, their forces conducted an intelligence-driven operation against IS members in an unspecified area of Erbil City. Two IS members identified as Ahmed Ibrahim Ahmed Jadi’ and Qahtan Ali Ahmed Jadi’ were arrested. The individuals had been reportedly monitored for a period of time, with a judge issuing a court order prior to the operation. The individuals were said to have previously operated as IS security members in an unspecified area of northern Iraq during the IS occupation. Six additional individuals suspected of IS involvement were arrested in an unspecified area, with few further details noted.

IS-related arrests are rarely reported in Erbil, but not unprecedented. Overnight between 6-7 October 2018, Kurdish Counter-Terrorism Group (CTG) forces conducted a joint operation with CF advisors in a residential area in an unspecified area of Erbil City. The raid force detained eight suspected members of al-Rawi network, an IS financial support group. No clashes were reported, with no casualties sustained as a result. CF officials later clarified that coordinated operations conducted in Erbil and Baghdad resulted in the arrests of 10 members of al-Rawi network.

The 16 January operation shared some similarities with the October operation. Discussion of two arrests in Erbil along with six arrests in an unspecified area are indicative of coordinated operations, though further clarity is required. In another similarity, no resistance was encountered during the raid, and no weapons were specified as being recovered. Disparities pertained to descriptions of the alleged IS members. As opposed to a financial cell, the individuals detained on 16 January were described as formerly active insurgents. It is somewhat unclear what their current activities were despite the significant attention initially afforded to these arrests. Additional clarity is required from later reporting including reports from CF sources.

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