Following tribal gunfights

Interior Ministry detains over 150 individuals in Karbala

KARBALA – The Iraqi Interior Ministry’s spokesperson, Brigadier General Muqdad Miri, announced on Thursday that security forces had arrested over 150 individuals and seized more than 50 weapons in the Freiha area east of Karbala, located in southern Iraq.

The arrests and seizures followed a dawn siege initiated in response to armed clashes that occurred in the region 48 hours earlier, aimed at imposing state authority and enforcing the law, according to Miri.

An armed tribal conflict erupted last Tuesday in the Freiha area near Karbala University. The Iraqi Interior Ministry reported that an armed group from Dhi Qar initiated the violence by setting fire to a house, leading to a violent confrontation between involved parties. Authorities stated that the fighting did not result in any casualties.

Following the incident, local residents demanded that security forces conduct a military operation to apprehend those responsible for causing panic and fear among the area’s inhabitants.

Miri stated in a press release, “After completely surrounding the area from Al-Salam Bridge to Sayed Ismail Street, security forces conducted a raid and search operation in the Freiha, Shabanat, and Jair areas of Karbala, in response to the brawl that occurred on April 2, 2024.”

During the operation, security forces seized 42 Kalashnikov rifles, BKC and RBK rifles, 7 hunting rifles, 11 various types of pistols, ammunition for Kalashnikov and BKC rifles with belts, pistol ammunition, a quantity of gunpowder, 50 rifle magazines, 11 pistol magazines, an offensive grenade, and 6 bladed weapons.

Tribal conflicts have long been a major source of public concern, often resulting in fatalities. Such conflicts appear to be more prevalent in the southern parts of the country. Unofficial estimates suggest that as many as 8 million guns are circulating in Iraq outside the control of the state, facilitating the outbreak of tribal conflicts.