Recent pre-emptive security operations in Diyala have crippled "Islamic State of Iraq and Syria" (ISIS) remnants' ability to threaten the security of the province, an Iraqi expert told Diyaruna Monday (October 5th).
The Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS), backed by Iraqi army and international coalition aircraft, has carried out fierce attacks against ISIS remnants in Diyala in recent days.
A series of operations on Saturday killed two ISIS elements and destroyed 20 caves, rest-houses and weapons caches in al-Azim and the Hamreen basin.
An ISIS militant was also arrested, Iraq's military spokesman Yahya Rasul said.
"The CTS has gained important intelligence about the terrorist networks operating in the province after careful, months-long efforts to collect information," he said in a statement.
The force launched on September 30th a large-scale military operation near Nareen River in northern Diyala, targeting secret ISIS camps, some of which were under construction.
It uncovered caves, rest-houses and caches containing highly dangerous explosive materials and a vehicle used for tunnel digging.
The CTS force also conducted a landing operation in the area, successfully capturing an ISIS leader who was attempting to flee
Broader security strategy
These operations have "crippled ISIS remnants' ability to carry out high-level attacks that would enable them to lift morale among the group's ranks and garner media attention", said security expert Safaa al-Aasam.
"The terrorists' attempts to prove their presence and derail security by planning cowardly operations from their secret hideouts in the Hamreen basin and other unpopulated areas have failed as a result of the continuous efforts to track them down," he told Diyaruna.
Security operations are now conducted based on a broader strategy, he said, with each operation complementing its predecessor and achieving more effective results.
Recent reports show a decline in terrorist activity in remote areas, as the threat from ISIS pockets diminishes "thanks to the extensive search campaigns and selective, pinpoint strikes on specific targets", said al-Aasam.
Iraqi forces possess abundant intelligence on ISIS remnants' hiding places and networks, and are carrying out effective operations to track them down, monitor their movements and take them out when the time is right, he said.
Tip-offs provided by the local population are "essential in feeding the intelligence database on the terrorists", al-Aasam noted, stressing that co-ordinated efforts between all security and military units, intelligence services and tribes to eradicate ISIS remnants continue.