Iraqi forces launch major operation against ISIS after civilian killings
Iraqi forces have launched a major operation against the remnants of the Islamic State following public anger over the jihadist killing of a group of abducted civilians.
Dubbed “Vengeance for the Martyrs,” the operation will see the Kurdish army, special forces, police and Peshmerga fighters track down ISIS cells in the center of the country, the Iraqi Joint Operations Command said in a statement. press release Wednesday July 4.
It comes after the bodies of eight ISIS captives were found late last month along a highway north of Baghdad. Some of those kidnapped had appeared in a video in which ISIS threatened to execute them unless Baghdad released female prisoners.
The JOC statement said that the army, federal police, special forces, Peshmerga fighters and the Hashd al-Shaabi paramilitary force had launched “a large-scale operation to clean up the area east of the Diyala highway. Kirkuk “.
The operation was supported by the Iraqi Air Force and the US-led coalition that intervened against ISIS in Iraq and Syria after the jihadists took control of much of the two countries in 2014.
One ISIS fighter had already been killed and eight captured, the JOC said, and equipment, including vehicles and bombs, destroyed.
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The operation marked the first time Iraqi federal forces and the Peshmerga have worked together since clashes following last year’s Kurdish independence referendum.
Iraq declared victory over ISIS in December after expelling jihadists from all major cities in a massive offensive.
But the Iraqi army continued its operations mainly targeting remote desert areas from where ISIS fighters continued to carry out attacks.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi had vowed to avenge the eight civilians killed by ISIS and ordered the execution of hundreds of convicted jihadists. Thirteen death row inmates were executed last week.
With the AFP report