Middle EastTop StoriesWorld

Iraq publishes list of ‘most wanted fugitives’

Iran-backed Iraqi groups urge full US withdrawal

BAGHDAD: Iraqis look at printed profiles of Islamic State (IS) group members released by Iraqi authorities yesterday. Iraqi authorities issued a new list of ‘internationally wanted terrorists,’ headed by IS group leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi. —AFP

BAGHDAD: Iraqi authorities published a list of most wanted fugitives yesterday headed by elusive Islamic State group leader Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi and his number two. It was the second list Iraq had published this week of people wanted on suspicion of belonging to the Islamic State group, Al-Qaeda or the Baath Party of executed dictator Saddam Hussein. “They are more dangerous than those who appeared on the first list published on Sunday and they are wanted internationally whereas the others are wanted only by the Iraqi courts,” a security official said.

The IS leader appears on the list under his real name Ibrahim Awad Ibrahim Ali Al-Badri Al-Samarrai. His deputy is listed as Abdel Rahman Al-Qaduli rather than his nom de guerre Abu Alaa Al-Afari. Seven other Iraqis are on the list as are five foreigners accused of IS membership-two Saudis, a Jordanian, a Yemeni and a Qatari. Sunday’s list contained the names of 60 wanted suspect, all but one of them Iraqis. It includes the name of Saddam’s daughter Raghad, who lives in neighboring Jordan. It also features 28 suspected IS jihadists, 12 from Al-Qaeda and 20 Baathists.

Full US withdrawal
In another development, two major Iraqi Shiite groups backed by Iran are demanding all US forces leave Iraq, opposing plans by Baghdad and Washington to keep some there for training and advisory purposes. An Iraqi government spokesman said US forces – who number more than 5,000 – had begun reducing their numbers but some would remain. The Badr Organization, a Shiite group that has a minister in Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi’s government, in charge of the interior, said any remaining US, troops would be cause for instability.

“The two governments should coordinate to ensure a full withdrawal. US presence will be cause for internal polarization and a magnet for terrorists,” Badr spokesman Kareem Nuri said. Kataib Hezbollah, a more militant, secretive and anti-American group, repeated threats to attack US forces. “We are serious about getting the Americans out, using the force of arms because the Americans don’t understand any other language,” its spokesman, Jaafar Al-Husseini, told Beirut-based al-Mayadeen TV on Monday evening.

Kataib Hezbollah has strong links to Iran’s Revolutionary Guards Corps and has threatened to attack US forces several times in the past, describing their presence as an occupation. A US official in Baghdad said: “We take anything that sounds like a threat from anyone against Americans seriously.” “There’s not that many of us here and we are all operating within Iraqi military bases. A lot of this is frankly just political posturing and trying to take advantage of stories in the press to make broader political points,” he added.

The US-led international military coalition helped Iraqi forces recapture territory taken by Islamic State in 2014 and 2015, providing air and artillery support in the battle to for Mosul, and trained tens of thousands of elite Iraqi soldiers. “The Coalition will tailor our forces in consultation with our Iraqi partners in order to ensure the lasting defeat of Daesh (Islamic State),” the coalition’s director of operations, Brigadier General Jonathan Braga, said in a statement on Monday.- Agencies

Back to top button