"What's happening now isn't terrorism, it's gangsters ... They kidnap, they demand money. Maybe they used to be insurgents, but now they're just criminals."
Iraqi army Staff Sergeant Mortatha Abdul Karam at a Mosul checkpoint, commenting on the crackdown against insurgents in North Iraq.
Throughout September, the Iraqi government increases its efforts to root out insurgents in the northern province of Nineveh. During the first week of the month, Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki deploys thousands of police officers to the Syria border to prevent these dissidents from entering the country. The deployment coincides with Iraq alleging Iraqi militants in Syria were involved in the August bombings in Baghdad. However, the government continues to suffer security setbacks after 16 prisoners, including al-Qaeda members, escape from a Tikrit detention center in northern Iraq on September 24. On the eve of October, Iraq launches a major anti-terror operation aimed at driving al-Qaeda and Baathist insurgents out of the militant-stronghold Mosul. Three days after the onslaught began, Iraqi forces arrest more than 150 people.