MOSUL, Iraq (AFP) - Security forces arrested more than 150 people, including Al-Qaeda leaders and Arab fighters, in a massive crackdown on insurgents in northern Nineveh province, the defence ministry said on Saturday. The operation in Iraqs most violent region was launched late Wednesday and is focused mainly in the city of Mosul, where insurgents frequently carry out attacks on civilians, the army and police. Around 152 people have been arrested, including Arabs, leaders from Al-Qaeda and the enemies of the political process, defence ministry spokesman Major General Mohammed al-Askari told AFP. The crackdown involves members of Iraqs anti-terror forces, as well as soldiers and police. It is a wide operation to chase members of Al-Qaeda and Baathists in Mosul, Askari said, referring to members of executed dictator Saddam Husseins outlawed Baath party. A security forces commander in Nineveh province, of which Mosul is the capital, said the operation had targeted terrorists inside and outside Mosul. Anti-terrorist forces arrested more than 100 wanted people for committing crimes, said Maj Gen Hassan Karim Khodayer, chief of Nineveh operations command. There is a large American troop presence at two bases on the outskirts of Mosul, but a US military spokesman said American forces had not participated in the operation. Mosul, 370 kilometres (230 miles) north of the capital Baghdad, sees almost daily attacks on civilians and security forces. The province has also been hit by several major attacks against its smaller towns in recent months bombings in Mosul and in the towns of Wardak, Sinjar and Khaznah in the past two months have killed more than 100 people. According to Brussels-based thinktank the International Crisis Group insurgent groups remain active in Nineveh, although violence in Iraq has generally declined compared to previous years. Violence in much of Iraq is at lower levels than in years past but, in Nineveh, the carnage continues, the ICG said in a report on the province last month. Although significantly diminished, insurgent groups ... remain active. It said that the provinces continued strife risks dragging other parts of the country onto a downward slope. Stability in the province is also affected by two other key factors it borders Syria and adjoins Iraqs autonomous Kurdish region. Kurdish authorities in Arbil want to expand their region to include a disputed tract of land that is, according to the central government in Baghdad, part of four provinces, including Nineveh, that are not part of Kurdistan. The dispute has led to increasingly heated exchanges between Baghdad and Arbil, though they have both pledged to resolve their differences through dialogue. Iraqs border with Syria has been a source of much tension with Damascus Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki alleges that 90 percent of foreign terrorists who infiltrate Iraq do so via Syria.