Nearly a dozen members of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group have been killed after Iraqi security forces, supported by pro-government fighters from Popular Mobilization Units, foiled their attacks in the country’s northern oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC) spokesman Brigadier General Yahya Rasool said a joint force from Hawija police and voluntary fighters, better known by the Arabic word Hashd al-Sha’abi, repelled militant attacks on the villages of Gharib and Hanaf, south of the provincial capital city of Kirkuk, killing 11 extremists in the process, Arabic-language al-Taghier television network reported.
Rasool added that five Takfiris clad in explosive vests were among the slain militants.
A policeman and a Hashd al-Sha’abi fighter were killed during the clashes as well.
Separately, the JOC announced in a statement that Iraqi F-16 fighter jets had bombarded Daesh positions and a weapons cache in Syria’s Hegeen region, located 40 kilometers from the border town of al-Qa’im in Iraq’s western province of al-Anbar.
The statement added that the militant sites were completely destroyed in the aerial attacks.
Iraqi authorities have on occasions stated that they work closely with the Syrian government to monitor and target terrorist positions based on the efforts of intelligence and information departments of the security coordination committee formed between Baghdad, Damascus, Tehran and Moscow years ago, as well as coordination with the so-called US-led anti-Daesh coalition.
“If we perform a strike, we will coordinate with the international coalition, the joint security center and all the relevant parties. As we work together, we follow the principle of partnership to ensure safety and harmony between allies,” Iraqi Ministry of Defense spokesman Tahseen al-Khafaji said in late April.
On April 23, intelligence sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, told Arabic-language Shafaaq news agency that Daesh’s second-in-command had been killed during an Iraqi airstrike inside the Syrian territory.
The top-ranked extremist, identified by the nom de guerre Abu Luqman al-Suri, was killed in the attack. He was the deputy of purported Daesh leader Ibrahim al-Samarrai aka Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The sources added that Suri was “in charge of recruiting attackers and dispatching them to Iraq to carry out bomb attacks there.”