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Four of ‘the most important’ ISIS leaders killed in Salahaddin province ambush: Iraq military

Four top leaders of the Islamic State (ISIS) were killed by Iraqi security forces on Friday, according to an Iraqi military spokesperson.

Iraqi security forces prepared an ambush for ISIS fighters in the Samarra district of Salahaddin province, killing four of “the most important leaders of Daesh [ISIS] terrorists, including two with explosive belts, in al-Farhatiya area,” read a tweet from Yehia Rasool, spokesperson for Mustafa al-Kadhimi in his position as commander-in-chief of the armed forces.

On Monday, two other top ISIS militants were killed in a raid by the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (ICTS) in the town of Daquq, Kirkuk province. The ICTS announced on the same day that two “dangerous” ISIS fighters had been detained in the western Iraqi town of Fallujah.

News of the capture comes as Washington announced that it would be halving the number of its troops in Iraq, from 5,200 to 3,000. The US leads the 82-country Global Coalition to Defeat Daesh, established in 2014 to rid Iraq and neighbouring Syria of ISIS.

Although the Iraqi government announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq in December 2017, remnants of the group continue to ambush security forces, kidnap and execute suspected informants, and extort money from vulnerable rural populations, particularly in territories disputed by Baghdad and Erbil.

There were more than 400 ISIS-claimed or suspected attacks in Iraq between April and June according to a recent Pentagon Inspector General report, up from the 250 attacks recorded in the first three months of 2020.

Most frequently hit was the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala, where the Pentagon reported 150 of the quarter’s attacks had taken place. Other attacks were reported in the provinces of Kirkuk, Anbar, Nineveh, and Salahaddin. Source