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Multiple casualties in ISIS attack on Iraqi PMF forces in Samarra

Islamic State (ISIS) militants carried out multiple attacks against Iraqi forces overnight in Saladin province, killing 10 members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF).

“Six fighters were martyred by live ammunition from Daesh [ISIS] terrorist members in Makishifiya area in the late hours of last night,” said the Iraqi Security Media Cell in a statement at midday on Saturday. Another four were killed elsewhere in the Samarra area.

“Hashd al-Shaabi is facing several attacks from different fronts on its security points in Samarra vicinity,” the PMF’s media tweeted in the early hours of Saturday morning. Hashd al-Shaabi is an Arabic name for the PMF.

Militants attacked the PMF at five different locations causing “great loss,” the force stated.

Samarra is located 125 kilometres north of Baghdad in Saladin province.

The PMF also reported they blew up a “pick up vehicle which was carrying a group of Daesh [ISIS] fighters and was trying to attack a security point in Makishifiya.”

Iraq declared military victory over ISIS in December 2017, but the group has remained a threat, returning to insurgency tactics of ambushes, kidnappings, executions of suspected informants, and extortion from vulnerable rural populations.

In recent week, militants launched a new wave of attacks on Iraqi and Kurdish security forces who are part of government efforts to enforce COVID-19-related lockdowns. The attacks mostly take place in areas claimed by both governments where a security gap between the two sides is exploited by ISIS.

ISIS has urged its followers to exploit the global pandemic and step up attacks.

Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) conducted a “successful ambush” near the town of Dujail in southern Saladin on Monday and captured a senior ISIS executioner, according to a statement from the Iraqi Security Media Cell.

“During a military operation, a unit from the Samarra Operations Command was able to arrest a terrorist who was previously working as an executions officer in ISIS,” the cell said.

Kurdish security forces in Garmiyan announced the arrest of a local ISIS leader on April 3 who confessed to taking part in several attacks on Peshmerga forces in the Diyala towns of Jalawla and Qaratapa.

Between January 1 and April 15, the ISF carried out 1,060 operations and killed 135 targets, Iraqi defense ministry spokesperson Yehia Rasool said last week. Source