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ISIS smuggler arrested north of Baghdad

ERBIL, Kurdistan Region – An Islamic State (ISIS) smuggler was arrested north of Baghdad, in an area vulnerable to the group’s attacks, state media reported on Thursday.

Iraqi forces arrested the smuggler in Tarmiyah district, finding weapons and equipment on him they say.

ISIS seized control of swathes of Iraq in 2014. The group was declared territorially defeated in 2017 but continues to carry out bombings, hit-and-run attacks, and abductions across several provinces.

Both civilians and security forces are vulnerable to ISIS attacks in Tarmiyah. Locals say the militant group regularly extorts the population and uses the area as a launchpad to target the nearby capital.

Iraqi forces launch frequent operations targeting the group’s remnants in the area. Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced a new security operation in August.

A member of the terror group was killed during a security operation in the area last month.

Four soldiers were killed in an IED explosion in the district in May. A security source blamed the attack on the terror group.

The group is a threat on the outside of Iraqi borders too. An internationally wanted ISIS head, Sami Jasim Muhammad al-Jaburi, was arrested outside of Iraq on Sunday. He was the general supervisor of ISIS financial and economic files and a deputy to former leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.