Iraq’s Security Media Cell announced Friday the arrest of 31 Syrians with explosives in their possession trying to infiltrate Iraqi territories.
In a statement, the Cell said that in an ambush, the security forces stopped 31 Syrians as they tried to cross the border from al-Raqqa to Iraqi territories.
It added that security forces found explosives in their possession.
The detainees were handed over to the competent authorities for further investigation.
A security official told Asharq Al-Awsat that the operation was conducted after a tip-off that some ISIS members were planning to infiltrate the border from the area of Im Jreiss.
Al-Rafidain Operations Commander Major General Jabbar Al-Tai said Iraq is taking a series of measures to prevent the infiltration of terrorists through the border.
Meanwhile, the Pentagon said American and other NATO forces would maintain “a long-term presence” in Iraq to help fightextremists and to check Iranian influence in the country.
Gen. Kenneth F. McKenzie Jr., the head of the Pentagon’s Central Command, said the 5,200 troops in Iraq to help fight remnants of ISIS and train Iraqi forces “will be adjusted” after consultations with the government in Baghdad.
Fatah Parliamentary Bloc Deputy Hassan Shaker said there is classified information that allows US forces to remain in Iraq for 20 to 28 years.
The Fatah bloc led by Hadi al-Amiri is one of the leading opponents to the US presence in Iraq.