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Iraqi Army Launches Operation Against ISIS Cells in Kirkuk Following Deadly Attacks

Gulan Media December 3, 2023 News
Iraqi Army Launches Operation Against ISIS Cells in Kirkuk Following Deadly Attacks

In response to a recent surge in attacks by the Islamic State (ISIS) that resulted in nearly a dozen casualties, the Iraqi army, in collaboration with the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF or Hashd al-Shaabi), initiated a security operation on Sunday targeting ISIS cells in Kirkuk province.

Official statements from state media cited a PMF release, indicating that a joint force comprising the Iraqi army and PMF launched the operation to pursue and eliminate the remnants of ISIS, aiming to secure the area completely. The move follows a series of ISIS attacks in Diyala and Makhmour over the past week, raising concerns about the activities of sleeper cells in disputed territories.

Last Thursday, a suspected ISIS assault in Diyala's Muqdadiya district, known as Sharaban in Kurdish, resulted in the tragic deaths of at least ten civilians, with 17 others sustaining injuries. On the following day, suspected ISIS gunmen attacked an army position near Erbil province's Makhmour, resulting in the death of at least one Iraqi soldier and injuring five others.

ISIS gained control of significant portions of Iraqi territory during a bold offensive in 2014. Although territorially defeated in 2017, when Iraqi and Kurdish forces, supported by a US-led international coalition, reclaimed lands from the jihadist group, ISIS has persisted as a security threat. The group engages in hit-and-run attacks, bombings, and abductions, particularly in areas disputed between the Iraqi government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), spanning provinces like Diyala, Salahaddin, and Kirkuk.

To address the ongoing security challenges, joint Iraqi-Peshmerga brigades are anticipated to commence operations to secure these disputed areas this month. This initiative comes two years after the coordination for joint operations was initially agreed upon. Recent operations around Qarachogh and Gwer have been completed by the joint forces, according to Peshmerga Commander Sirwan Barzani. The collaboration aims to enhance security and stability in the disputed regions, mitigating the persistent threat posed by ISIS.

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