Suspected ISIS suicide bomber kills 2 PMF fighters in Babil

Suspected ISIS suicide bomber kills 2 PMF fighters in Babil

A suspected Islamic State (ISIS) suicide bomber on Tuesday killed two fighters of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al-Shaabi) in Babil province amid an operation to clear the area of the terror group, Iraqi state media reported, citing a statement from the PMF.

The force said that they dispatched several brigades to the town of Jurf al-Nasr (formerly Jurf al-Sakhar) in northern Babil province, around 60 kilometers southwest of Baghdad after obtaining intelligence about the presence of ISIS cells in the area.

“The enemy was engaged and those in the clashes were killed as a result of a suicide bomber detonating himself,” the PMF said, adding that three of its fighters were injured during the clashes.

Jurf al-Nasr was captured by ISIS during their swift offensive across Iraq in 2014. Iraqi security forces and Iranian-backed PMF fighters recaptured the town in October of the same year, and the terror group was declared territorially defeated in Iraq in 2017.

However, despite ISIS being devoid of territorial control, its cells continue to pose a serious security risk in Iraq through hit-and-run attacks, abductions, and bombings across several provinces, particularly in the disputed areas between Erbil and Baghdad.

The PMF was formed when a group of militias responded to a call-to-arms from revered Shiite cleric Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani to stand against ISIS in 2014. While the force has been officially incorporated into the Iraqi security apparatus, militias within their ranks operate outside of Baghdad’s control and receive support from Iran.

In November, Iraq launched the eighth phase of an expansive anti-ISIS operation dubbed “Solid Will” in the northern province of Mosul, involving the participation of the Iraqi army, police, and the PMF.

Source: rudaw