Iraqi forces killed 23 remnants of the "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) in a major operation carried out by joint forces on the terrorists' hideout in Kirkuk province on Monday (April 13th).
"We received accurate intelligence information about a large terrorist hideout in the form of a cave containing several rest-houses in the area of Wadi al-Shay, south of Kirkuk," Maj. Gen. Tahseen al-Khafaji, a spokesman for the Joint Operations Command, told Diyaruna.
"Acting on that information, forces from the 45th Brigade of the army's 11th Division, the Kirkuk control centre, other federal police units (from the 5th and 6th Divisions), the Popular Mobilisation Forces, and the air force, moved out on the hideout," he said.
"Upon the forces' arrival, violent clashes broke out between them and the terrorist elements entrenched inside the hideout, lasting for several hours," al-Khafaji said.
International coalition aircraft also participated with airstrikes supporting the attacking ground security forces.
The attack led to the complete destruction of the hideout and the killing of 23 ISIS fighters, al-Khafaji said, adding that one Iraqi soldier was killed and four others were wounded in the attack.
Co-operation with coalition continues
"The information that led to the hideout's discovery was collected and analysed in the recent offensive operations carried out by the Counter-Terrorism Service and the other security forces against enemy hideouts on the outskirts of Kirkuk and the surrounding areas," al-Khafaji said.
"The zero hour for the attack was carefully chosen by the security leadership based on a full assessment of the situation, and we were keen to ensure that the largest number of terrorists were hit," he said.
"The timing was very successful, and we were able to execute a highly important quality operation that taught the terrorist remnants a harsh lesson, inflicting a painful blow to their ranks and breaking their morale," he said.
"The terrorists thought they were safe from being observed and hit, and they were preparing to carry out major attacks against our troops and the citizens of Kirkuk, but we thwarted their plans with a pre-emptive attack," al-Khafaji said.
"We constantly receive information from our intelligence agencies, reconnaissance and investigation teams, and citizens, in addition to the international coalition, with whom we still work together," he added.
Joint security operations are proceeding "at an increasing pace, putting strong pressure on the enemy elements to strip them of the ability to pose any threat", he said.
"Our fight with the remnants of ISIS continues and our momentum of engaging them will not die out."