Iraq News

Iraqi forces advance against ISIS remnants in Kirkuk

By Khalid al-Taie


Iraqi Federal Police units take part in a campaign to hunt down ISIS elements in the vicinity of al-Hawijah in Kirkuk province on February 6th. [Photo courtesy of the Federal Police] 

Iraqi forces have achieved security successes against "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) remnants in Kirkuk this week, killing one and arresting five others while destroying 10 of the group's hideouts, an official told Diyaruna.

Security forces carried out "a series of successful quality operations in Kirkuk districts and sub-districts" over the past two days, Kirkuk province media office director Marwan al-Ani said Friday (March 15th).

Army warplanes conducted an airstrike on a target in ​​Kharab al-Rout in al-Dibs district, he said, which "led to the death of a dangerous ISIS element by the name of Jihad al-Mafraji".

A joint force from the federal police and Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) arrested "another dangerous terrorist" in the village of al-Saadouniya in south-west Kirkuk, al-Ani said, without disclosing the man’s identity.

"Security forces also have captured four terrorists on the al-Manzila road between al-Hawijah district and al-Multaqa sub-district," he said, noting that warrants had been issued for their arrests.

Meanwhile, forces from the Federal Police’s 5th Division carried out a large sweep operation Thursday in the al-Riyadh area of al-​​Hawijah, al-Ani said.

Ten abandoned ISIS rest-houses in the areas of al-Wastaniya and Naweem Karha were found, he said, adding that three TNT explosive devices, 30 containers of C-4 explosive, various weapons, food, blankets and household appliances were found in the hideouts.

"All these items have been disposed of and the rest-houses have been completely destroyed," he added.

New security command

The recent developments "reflect the success of the security plan announced on February 23rd by security leaders in Kirkuk", al-Ani said.

The plan involved establishing the Joint Operations Advanced Headquarters Command, headed by Maj. Gen. Saad Harbiyah of the special forces.

The command is responsible for managing security efforts in Kirkuk province in co-ordination with all security outfits, including the army, police, intelligence and counter-terrorism forces.

"Since the plan was launched, hardly a day goes by without a security achievement," al-Ani said.

The overall security situation in the province "has remarkably improved and is now much better, even compared to last month", he said.

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The credit is to the presence of strong leadership represented by the commander of the 5th Division Federal Police, Brig. Gen. Mohamed Abdul Wahab Sokar.