Iraqi forces launch raid to clear Diyala of ISIS remnants
Iraqi security forces have launched a raid against ISIS elements in Diyala province, destroying and defusing explosives laid by the group.
The operation took place in dense orchards around several villages in northeastern Baquba town.
“The security forces … have started their duties at Hawz, Makhisa, Kuba and Chalabi villages. The terrorist groups were using these villages,” Duraid Suhail Hassan, a security official in Diyala, told Rudaw.
One member of the security forces was killed in the operation, he said.
Villagers are working with security forces to help clear the orchards of ISIS remnants.
“We had knowledge about the presence of the ISIS sleeper cells at the orchards and thus we launched the operation,” Ahmed Khalil, an army soldier, said.
“A lot of bombs were defused and disposed of and a member of the security forces was killed by a sniper,” Khalil said.
Militants responded with mortars and sniper rifles during the raid.
Another aim of the raid was to clear homes seized by militants and return these to IDPs.
The rise in attacks in these areas has led military officials and community leaders to call for the Peshmerga to be redeployed. Kurdish forces were withdrawn from these disputed areas following the events of October 16.
In late June, Iraq’s military commander for Diyala province called for a joint operation with the Peshmerga to defeat ISIS remnants.
Although the Iraqi government declared the defeat of ISIS in December 2017, there have been sporadic military confrontations between ISIS remnants and Iraqi Security Forces, including the Kurdish Peshmerga — around Makhmour and in the Hamrin mountains in Saladin province and Diyala.
Peshmerga forces carried out a raid in coordination with US-led coalition warplanes to trace the whereabouts of ISIS remnants around Mount Qarachogh on Saturday, killing a number of militants, according to an official.
The operation in Diyala also comes after the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) announced that acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict across Iraq killed 76 civilians and injured 129 over the month of June 2018, of which the highest number of the fatalities was in Diyala and Kirkuk.
Diyala Governorate suffered 52 civilian casualties –16 killed and 36 injured. This was followed by Kirkuk, which suffered 10 killed and 36 injured, and the Iraqi capital Baghdad, which suffered 19 killed and 18 injured.