Security

Iraqi special forces kill 25 ISIS elements in Makhmour district

By Khalid al-Taie

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Iraqi special forces launched an attack on ISIS hideouts in the Qara Jogh mountain in Makhmour district, northern Iraq, on March 9th. [Photo courtesy of the Iraqi Special Operations Forces]

Twenty-five elements of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) were killed Monday (March 9th) in a landing carried out by an airborne force from the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS).

The operation targeted ISIS hideouts in the mountain of Qara Jogh in Makhmour district, northern Iraq.

This was Iraqi forces' latest operation since raids in mid-February that killed dozens of ISIS remnants in the Hamreen, Makhoul, Khanouka and Atshana mountains.

The landing was "co-ordinated with international coalition aircraft", according to a statement from the Iraqi Security Media Cell.

The attacking force "clashed with ISIS elements holed up in the Qara Jogh mountain, and was able to kill 25 of them and destroy nine tunnels and a training camp", it said.

The attack started at dawn on Sunday and ended early Monday, said Makhmour mayor Rizkar Mohammed.

"It was punctuated by violent clashes and airstrikes that pounded the terrorists' caves in the mountain," he told Diyaruna.

Swift response to terrorism

"This attack was a firm and swift response to the crimes committed by terrorist elements, who last week carried out two terrorist operations against innocent civilians in two villages in Qaraj district," Mohammed said.

ISIS militants coming from Qara Jogh mountain carried out a small arms attack against the village of al-Khadra, killing two citizens and injuring a third, he said.

Later, they detonated an explosive device on a civilian vehicle near the village of al-Hadiqa, wounding four citizens, with varying degrees of injury, he added.

The two attacks "came more than a month after the last operation by ISIS remnants against villages near the mountain, when an explosive device was detonated in the village of Tal al-Reem, wounding two civilians", Mohammed said.

The ISIS remnants are not many, he said, "but they are trying to use the mountain of Qara Jogh, which is about 1,000 meters above sea level, as a safe haven".

"They are taking advantage of its rocky nature and ruggedness, and its access to the Tigris river to the west and to the river islands that extend to the district of al-Qayyarah, south of Mosul," he said.

The security operation dealt a "strong blow" to the militants, he said, and "if such quality operations are frequently recurring on the mountain and its surrounding areas, the ISIS threat will disappear completely".

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