Nineveh, IRAQ — The Security Media Center of the Iraqi Federal Ministry of Defense announced, on Saturday, that security forces killed 14 militants belonging to the Islamic State group in Nineveh Province, during the search for sleeper cells in the area.

The center declared that security forces from Nineveh Operations Command, backed by the army aviation and international coalition warplanes, launched an operation to search for ISIS hideouts in the area.

Furthermore, it added that the operation resulted in the killing of 14 terrorists and destroying 3 hideouts, due to the intensive air strikes of the international coalition warplanes, Iraqi News reports.

It is noteworthy that the Military Intelligence Directorate announced, last week, killing a terrorist, known as al-Katkout, who held five important positions in the ranks of the Islamic State group, after engaging with a terrorist group in Sharqat Island, in Salahuddin Province.

Yesterday we reported that in Baghdad, the Iraqi military has conducted airstrikes against the Islamic State group in Syria’s Deir el-Zour province, killing 40 terrorists.

Iraqi F-16 jets carried out a successful airstrike that targeted a weapons depot of the Islamic State group in al-Susah city in Deir al-Zour, leaving 10 terrorists dead, Dijlah TV channel quoted the Joint Operations Command as saying in a statement.

Another air raid destroyed a building housing 30 Islamic State fighters in Deir al-Zour’s al-Baghuz town, the statement said.

The operation resulted in the complete destruction of the Islamic State targets, the statement added.

In April, former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi denied intentions to interfere in Syrian affairs, saying that the airstrikes against Islamic State will continue.

Iraq had previously announced launching airstrikes against ISIS locations in Syria. This came after Abadi said security troops will follow ISIS militants in the whole region, not only in Iraq.

Earlier, forty-six Islamic State militants, including leaders, were killed in three airstrikes carried out by Iraqi fighter jets in Anbar, according to multiple reports.

In a statement issued on Saturday, the Interior Ministry said “the first airstrike a meeting for IS military leaders in al-Jamaheer district in Qaim, as they were planning to target each of Baghdad and Najaf. The airstrike totally destroyed the location, killing 20 militants, some of whom were leaders of the so-called Baghdad, Al-Furat and Anbar states and wounding others.”

Among the main killed members, according to the statement, were “Abu Tareq, the military emir of the so-called Baghdad State. He used to be a former officer. He was close aid of the group’s supreme leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi. He planned for several operations in Baghdad including Karrada operation in 2016,” Iraqi News reports.

The second airstrike left “a booby-trapping workshop in al-Furat district, Qaim, destroyed, which exploded three vehicles and killed 12 experts, including booby-trapping experts of several nationalities.”

The third airstrike “targeted a rest house of suicide attackers of the so-called Baghdad State in Qaim,” the statement said. “13 militants were killed, while others were wounded.”

Joint Operations Command’s top general, Abdul-Amir Yarallah, said army, Federal Police, Rapid Response Forces and the Popular Mobilization forces announced on Thursday taking over the town of Hawija. 98 villages were seized back, while 196 militants were killed, according to Iraqi News.

Earlier in the day, PMFs liberated several villages in north of Hawija as well as al-Riyad region, southeast of the town.

On Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the Joint Operations Command announced beginning of the second phase of Hawija offensive.

AFF reported that United States-led coalition fighter jets launched a strategic attack on Wednesday killing at least 13 Islamic State leaders in an air raid on Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, as operations to closer to retaking the strategic haven.

Dijlah TV quoted a local source saying that the dead militants included seven members of the group’s so-called “treasury”.

The Iraqi Joint Operations Command said joint forces launched on Wednesday morning a new offensive targeting the center of Hawija, a major Islamic State stronghold which the militants occupied since 2014.

The decisive onslaught comes as part of a second stage of operations launched last Friday. The first phase of operations launched on September 24th, and managed to retake eastern Shirqat, an Islamic State haven in neighboring Salahuddin province, Iraqi News reports.

Also on Wednesday, Popular Mobilization Forces’ media said the troops managed Wednesday to take over the road linking central Hawija. A senior leader within the force, Jabbar al-Maamouri, had told Alsumaria News that the PMF were a about a mile from the town’s center.

A wide-scale campaign launched with the backing of a U.S.-led coalition in 2016 to recapture areas occupied by ISIS since 2014, when the militants declared a self-styled “caliphate” rule in Iraq and neighboring Syria based in Iraq’s Mosul.

Iraqi government, coalition and paramilitary forces recaptured Mosul, the group’s former capital, and the neighboring town of Tal Afar early July and late August.

AFF previously reported that more than 240 Islamic State militants were killed by Iraqi joint troops within the second phase of the special offensives launched in southwest of Kirkuk. Over 550 ISIS militants were killed in the first phase of the offensives, bringing the total to nearly 800 of these savages being killed in just 2 weeks.

A statement by Lt. Gen. Shaker Jawdat, Federal Police chief, said “troops along with Rapid Response forces and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) managed to regain control on 70 square kilometers (27 square miles) in west of Hawija, liberate 23 villages and regions, kill 144 militants, destroy 45 booby-trapped vehicles and evacuate 150 displaced families during the second operation of Hawija offensive.”

Earlier on the day, Lt.Gen. Abdul Amir Yaralla, commander of Hawija Operations, announced killing of 96 militants, destroying 13 vehicles in airstrikes in Hawija, Iraqi News reported.

A statement by the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, Yaralla said, “Iraqi jets launched several airstrikes targeting the group’s locations in Hawija.”

“The airstrikes left 96 militants and 13 vehicles destroyed,” he added.

Joint troops managed to free 11 villages in Hawija, Yaralla previously said on the day.

Early on Friday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and the Joint Operations Command announced beginning of the second phase of Hawija offensive.

Over 550 Islamic State militants were killed and more than 100 villages and regions have been liberated during the first phase of new aggressive offensives in southwest of Kirkuk, the military media has reported.

“Joint troops, which took part in Hawija operations, managed to accomplish the first phase and achieve all the targets, inflicting huge losses on the enemy,” the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said is a statement issued on Thursday.

“Security troops killed 557 militants, destroyed 46 booby-trapped vehicles and 24 others. 381 IEDs were defused,” according to the statement.

According to the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell, the army’s elite Counter-Terrorism Service liberated five villages, while Federal Police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) freed 63 villages. The army’s ninth armored division and PMFs managed to retake 35 villages, making the total number of regions and villages liberated reach 103, Iraqi News is reporting.

“Troops also destroyed two booby-trapped workshops and handled 18 booby-trapped houses. 21 enemy’s locations were targeted, while ten weapon stashes were destroyed,” the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell reported.

The Joint Operations Command announced completing the first phase of operations to recapture Hawija, the group’s holdout in southwestern Kirkuk.

Launched last week, the operation managed to take over al-Zab river region, the northern part of Makhoul mountains and several villages west of Tigris River.

Brig. Gen. Yahia Rasoul, spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said previously that the number of Islamic State members in Hawija falls between 800 and 1500.

Having recaptured Hawija, Iraqi troops still have only western Anbar’s towns of Rawa and Qaim remain under the militant’s control. Iraqi troops recaptured the town of Annah, a third IS holdout neighboring those two towns, late September.

Anbar’s western towns of Qaim and Rawa have been held by the extremist group since 2014, when it occupied one third of Iraq to proclaim a self-styled Islamic “Caliphate”. Iraqi troops were able to return life back to normal in the biggest cities of Anbar including Fallujah, Ramadi and others after recapturing them in 2015 and 2016.

Thousands of Islamic State militants as well as Iraqi civilians were killed since a government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led international coalition, was launched in October 2016 to fight the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul in June 2014.



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