Iraqi government forces backed by air power have engaged militants from the Takfiri ISIL group during various clean-up operations across the crisis-hit country and killed at least 182 extremists.
According to a statement released by the Iraqi Defense Ministry on Friday, a total of 124 ISIL militants died when Iraqi security troopers, supported by military aircraft, struck the Takfiris’ positions in the northern provinces of Kirkuk and Salahuddin as well as the troubled western province of Anbar.
The statement added that four terrorist hideouts and eight vehicles belonging to ISIL extremists plus a bomb-making workshop were destroyed during the attacks.
Iraqi army soldiers also launched mop-up operations in the town of al-Tarmiyah, situated some 30 kilometers (18 miles) north of the capital, Baghdad. Government forces killed 25 ISIL members, arrested 17 others, cleared three booby-trapped houses and defused seven improvised explosive devices following heavy clashes. The extremists were reportedly planning to carry out acts of terror north and west of Baghdad.
Iraqi volunteers from Popular Mobilization units during a graduation ceremony at the Habaniyah military base near Ramadi, Iraq, June 17, 2015 (© AFP)
Meanwhile, Iraqi Interior Ministry Spokesman Brigadier General Sa’ad Ma’an told al-Sumaria satellite television network on Friday that a total of 19 ISIL extremists, among them a senior commander of Syrian origin, identified as Akram Orouf al-Satom better known as Abu Ammar al-Shaami, were killed when Iraqi aircraft carried out precision strikes against terrorist hideouts in al-Mohammadi area north of the town of Hit, which lies about 140 kilometers (85 miles) west of the capital.
Ma’an further said that four ISIL members were also injured in the assaults.
Elsewhere in Iraq, ten ISIL Takfiris, including two snipers, were killed as government forces launched an operation in the town of al-Karma, located 48 kilometers (30 miles) west of Baghdad. Two militant hideouts and vehicles rigged with explosives were destroyed, while a warehouse containing 81 mortar rounds, eight Katyusha rockets and eight homemade projectiles were discovered following the operation.
Iraqi forces are seen in Baiji, north of Tikrit, as they advance against ISIL militants to try to retake the strategic oil-rich city, June 8, 2015. (© AFP)
Sadeq al-Hussaini, a member of the Diyala provincial council, also said four ISIL terrorists were killed as Iraqi security forces together with volunteer fighters from Popular Mobilization units launched a surprise attack against the Taskfiri terrorists in the oil-rich Haqoul Ajil district, east of the strategic city of Tikrit, itself situated 140 kilometers (86 miles) northwest of Baghdad.
Gruesome violence has plagued the northern and western parts of Iraq ever since ISIL launched an offensive in June 2014, and took control of portions of Iraqi territory. Units of army soldiers coupled with volunteer fighters are seeking to win back militant-held regions in joint operations.