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Confessions of a militant: Islamic State group 'planned Mosul invasion from inside Abu Ghraib prison' Open in fullscreen

The New Arab

Confessions of a militant: Islamic State group 'planned Mosul invasion from inside Abu Ghraib prison'

The Islamic State group overran large parts of Iraq and Syria [Getty]

Date of publication: 9 August, 2017

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Senior fighters of the Islamic State group planned to invade Mosul and other border cities with Syria from inside Abu Ghraib prison, according to confessions from an IS leader.
The Islamic State group's plan to move to Iraq and control its border cities with Syria was one of the main objectives of the militant group since the start of 2013 with plans devised from inside Abu Ghraib prison, it has been revealed.

IS leader Abu Ahmad al-Turkmani made the confession during his interrogation, according to an Iraqi official from the al-Rusafa Criminal Investigation Court in Baghdad.

Al-Turkmani, who was arrested after being wounded in the Old City of Mosul in early July, confessed that the plan to invade the towns had been prepared by senior leaders within the confinements of the prison.

However, it was not successfully implemented for several reasons, including a lack of fighters from the militant group, as well as pressure from the Free Syrian Army and Jabhat al-Nusra at the time on areas in Syria.

In July, several leaders managed to escape from prison but again plans failed on several occasions for varying reasons. However, the armed tribal uprising against the former Prime Minister, Nouri al-Maliki enabled the militant group to process the plan.

On July 22, 2013, gunmen attacked the Abu Ghraib prison west of Baghdad, and after killing dozens of security personnel, broke into the fortified prison and released more than 1,000 prisoners, most of whom were convicted al-Qaeda terrorists.

Prisoners who escaped from Abu Ghraib prison are currently holding important leadership positions, including Wali al-Jazira, Abdul Qader Khairi, the religious mufti of the State of Goodness, Mohammed Taha and Shaker Wahib, nicknamed Sheikh Abu Wahib, who is believed to have assumed the post of Governor of Anbar after the death of his predecessor.

According to the confessions, al-Turkmani and hundreds of others moved to Syria after their escape from prison and continued to work with the militant group there for more than five months, before the outbreak of the alleged tribal uprising against Nouri al-Maliki.

In the days before the invasion, prominent tribal leaders and Sunni clerics in Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and Qaim were removed from the cities in a bid to eliminate legitimate resistance

"According to the confessions of al-Turkmani, he was the head of a force of more than 200 gunmen who entered Anbar from the Syrian Boubammal, including fighters from the clans of the Dulaim, and raised tribal flags," the source said.

"In the days before the invasion, prominent tribal leaders and Sunni clerics in Fallujah, Mosul, Ramadi and Qaim were removed from the cities in a bid to eliminate legitimate resistance,” he added, according to the confessions.

The confessions coincide with those announced by the Iraqi police in December 2013, just a few days prior to the invasion of Anbar. The force confirmed 11 assassination cases involving clerics, tribal leaders and prominent community leaders. Similar assassinations were later reported in Mosul, also targeting officers of the former Iraqi army.

Baghdad depends on the detainees of the militant group to obtain intelligence on leaders of the group, its funding, and regional recruitment protocols.

Al-Turkmani, along with other senior figures within IS, is currently under investigation in the heavily guarded Kadhimiya Iraqi prison along the Tigris River north of Baghdad.

About 90 prominent members of IS are currently being interrogated in a fortified prison north of Baghdad. They were arrested during the battles in Anbar and Nineveh provinces, including Abu Ahmad al-Turkmani of Tal Afar, one of the arms of the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

The prisoners were initially arrested by the US military who handed them over to the Iraqi government following the US withdrawal in 2011.

The source, who is one of the officers of the Detainees' Investigation Team, said that "confessions by al-Turkmani and other leaders may not be appropriate for the government to announce or reveal due to the political aspect that condemns the previous government.

"But it may be used in the current political dichotomy, especially as it coincides with preparations for the elections."

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