Iraq News
Security

Iraqi forces stage back-to-back raids on ISIS

By Alaa Hussain in Baghdad

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Salaheddine Operations Command and the Salaheddine police carry out a security operation in Mount Makhoul in al-Sharqat. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Ministry of Interior]

Iraqi forces are conducting consecutive offensives against "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) remnants to prevent them from regrouping, with most targeting remote areas of Salaheddine, Anbar, Ninawa, Kirkuk and Diyala.

As soon as the Joint Operations Command announces the conclusion of an operation in one location, another raid is mounted, Iraqi officials said.

This strategy of back-to-back raids is based on "multiple shock operations that are conducted in more than one location simultaneously", Counter-Terrorism Service spokesman Sabah al-Numan told Diyaruna.

The goal is to eliminate militants and prevent them from resurfacing, he said.

"The ongoing operations are backed by significant intelligence support, which has allowed the security forces to pinpoint the locations of the enemy leadership as well as deployment areas of their remaining elements," he said.

The Iraqi military is capable of carrying out continuous operations, he said, noting that it is now stronger than ever and the morale of its fighters is high.

Support for Iraqi forces

Most of the raids carried out by Iraqi forces against ISIS pockets have occurred in remote mountainous areas of Salaheddine that were previously inaccessible, Salaheddine provincial council chairman Khalid al-Khazraji told Diyaruna.

"The success of these operations heavily relies on full public support for our forces by providing intelligence on the whereabouts of [ISIS remnants]," he said.

"There are no longer social incubators for ISIS anywhere today in the province," he added. "The local population has suffered from the group in the past and will not embrace it again."

Salaheddine operations have targeted Mutaybija and the desert areas that stretch west from Samarra to Fallujah in Anbar province, and the Hamreen Hills, which ISIS elements have used as a refuge.

Blocking extremist infiltration

Successive military operations aim to maintain security and block the entry of extremists through Iraq's borders, said military analyst Safaa al-Aasam.

"Distracting terrorists and attacking their operations in the country will deprive ISIS of its breeding ground and guesthouses, which the group relied on to receive terrorists on their way into Iraq," he told Diyaruna.

Ground operations have been accompanied by cross-border airstrikes targeting ISIS leaders and fighters in Syria, he said.

After destroying ISIS supply lines inside Iraq, "Iraqi security forces can now tighten the noose around what is left of them and prevent them from being able to regroup", al-Aasam said.

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