Thousands of ‘terrorists’ fighting to topple government, says premier

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Azzaman, May 29, 2014

Thousands of ‘terrorists’ have entered Iraq and many more are trying to infiltrate its borders, said Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki.

Maliki said the thrust of militants who poured into Iraq from Syria nearly three months ago was so violent that he feared the whole system would collapse.

He made the remarks in his meeting with the heads of diplomatic missions accredited to Baghdad.

“Iraq was the target of a terrorist invasion originating in Syrian territories, carrying the same weapons which are in the hands of terrorist groups in Syria,” Maliki said.

Maliki was referring to ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, whose militants are engaged in fierce fighting with other militant groups in Syria and with the government in Damascus.

“Thousands of terrorists from all over the world – Arabs and non-Arabs, Muslims and non-Muslims and mercenaries – entered Iraq and their plan to topple the political system and process was about to succeed,” he said.

He said certain neighboring states, which he did not identify, were facilitating the entry of  ‘terrorists’ into Iraq and “recently Iraqi troops intercepted 170 vehicles carrying militants and weapons on their to the country.”

“Any weapons entering Syria find their way into Iraq,” he said, adding that Iraqi troops found that the militants were using ‘dangerous’ ant-air weapons, which they had recently received from Syria.

The more pressure the militants in Syria come under, the larger their flow into Iraq, he said.

“This is a dangerous situation because the situation in Syria will boomerang on Iraq and from Iraq it will impact other countries,” he said.

He warned against supplying the Syrian opposition with weapons “because in Iraq we are fighting, opposing and resisting the same weapons that are in the hands of armed groups in Syria.

“The last consignment of weapons reaching the Province of Anbar consisted of shoulder-held anti-air weapons, which unfortunately were given to them (militants) by a country friendly to Iraq,” he said.

Fighting is raging in many places in the pre-dominantly Muslim Sunni Province of Anbar, with ISIS still in control of the strategic town of Falluja and large swathes of provincial territory.