Six Islamic State militants killed as security operation ongoing in Kirkuk
Six Islamic State (IS) militants were killed in a security operation that was launched earlier on Sunday to purge villages located in southwestern the oil-rich Kirkuk province from terrorism, a security source was quoted as saying.
Speaking to Baghdad Today news website, the source said, “Iraqi police, backed by pro-government troops of al-Hashd al-Shaabi, also found 11 explosive charges, nine tunnels and two booby-trapped vehicles that were used by the IS insurgents.”
The security operation was launched upon accurate intelligence reports to purge villages in Riyad district, southwest of Kirkuk, from Islamic State militants.
Federal police, backed by Iraqi warplanes and troops of the 2nd, 11th, 16th and 41st brigades of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) are taking part in the operation.
Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December with the help of a US-led alliance, having retaken all the territory captured by the extremists in 2014 and 2015.
Thousands of IS militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since a government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led international coalition, was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.
Despite the victory over IS in Iraq, observers say IS is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.