Mosul, IRAQ –Several bodies of Islamic State members were found as security troops confiscated tunnels that were used by the militant group, south of Mosul, the Security Media Center said.
In a statement, Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasool, the spokesperson for the center, said “the military intelligence found many tunnels that were used by ISIS in a village in Hammam al-Alil region in Mosul. The tunnels were used as shelters to treat the wounded.”
The troops, according to Rasool, “found inside the tunnels several bodies of IS members, who were injured without being treated during the liberation battles.”
Also, officials at Iraq’s Nineveh province have warned that senior Islamic State leaders were still in hiding at tunnels in the city of Mosul, the birthplace of the extremist group’s self-proclaimed “caliphate.”
Iraqi News reported that Hossam al-Abbar, a member of the Nineveh Province Council, was quoted saying in press statements that senior ISIS members were still hiding in underground tunnels in the western regions of Mosul, adding that those regions are of tough geography that makes it difficult to detect those tunnels.
The banks of Tigris River have become a hideout for the militants who entrench in tunnels well-hidden in the middle of the jungles, according to Abbar.
Nineveh officials have recently warned that several ISIS members were moving in the province with fake IDs.
AFF reported that one policeman was killed and three others were wounded as a bomb attack targeted their police vehicle in western Anbar, a security source was quoted as saying.
Speaking to Basnews website on Monday, the source said, “An explosive charge targeted a police vehicle carrying policemen between Rawa and Anah districts, west of Anbar.”
“The blast left a policeman killed and three others wounded,” the source said, adding that the troops were on a mission to secure agricultural lands and villages between Rawa and Anah districts, Iraqi News reported.
He pointed out the bomb is believed to be left over by ISIS militants.
“Security forces immediately rushed to the blast site and started combing the area in search for other bombs on site,” he noted.
At least twelve ISIS militants died Thursday when an underground tunnel they were using collapsed in the town of Tal Afar, west of Nineveh, a paramilitary leader said.
Speaking to Alsumaria News, Jabbar al-Maamouri, a commander at the Popular Mobilization Forces, said the militants scurried to the tunnel escaping an air strike. “The strike hit the tunnel’s opening, killing all inside, according to the information we have,” Maamouri stated.
The militants raised alert among members to extract the buried corpses, and did manage to the some out, he said, adding that the group had escalated the digging of tunnels which had usually been used as escape routes or for assaulting security forces, Iraqi News reports.
Tal Afar is 65 kilometers west of Mosul, and is home to a mixed Turkmen and Arab population. Iraqi forces recaptured Mosul, Islamic State’s former capital, early July after more than eight months of U.S.-backed offensives.
Iraqi PM Haider al-Abadi and his defense officials have marked Tal Afar as their next target of anti-Islamic State action. Iraqi defense officials said recently that warplanes were carrying out raids on the enclave in preparation for the ground invasion which is yet to be scheduled.
Tal Afar has reportedly seen divisions among Islamic State leaderships, with occasional news telling of power conflicts and dissents among leaders, as well as attempts by some militants to flee the anticipated battle field.
Since Iraqi forces launched a wide-scale campaign to retake Mosul in 2016, paramilitary troops managed to isolate the town from the Syrian borders and from the rest of Nineveh.
Despite the group’s crushing defeat at its main havens across Iraq, Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks against troops with security reports warning that the militant group still poses a threat against stability in the country.
The United Nations says nearly five million people have been displaced and more than 11 million are in need of humanitarian assistance since Islamic State militants took over large areas of Iraq in 2014 to proclaim a self-styled “Islamic Caliphate”.