BAQUBA, Iraq - Iraqi troops backed by Sunni former insurgents captured at least 59 suspected Al Qaeda fighters northeast of Baghdad on Saturday, an army officer told AFP.
Brigadier General Rageb al-Ameri said the operation took place near Boh Ruz, a town close to Baquba, the restive capital of Diyala province.
“One of the local leaders of Al Qaeda, Abu Shival, was also arrested in the operation,” Ameri said.
The ethnically volatile Diyala province is a known Al Qaeda stronghold and security forces have conducted a series of assaults there targetting the group’s fighters.
A number of Sunni former rebels have joined US and Iraqi forces in the fight against Al Qaeda in the province.
On Friday, a suicide bomber exploded his vest inside a house near the town of Khalis in Diyala, killing four tribal leaders opposed to the militant network, police and the US military said.
The bomber struck in the home of Sheikh Taha al-Obeidi in the village of Dojemah, Lieutenant Colonel Mohammed al-Obeidi of Khalis police said.
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