Iraqi forces push on air, ground operations against IS for second day

Iraqi forces push on air, ground operations against IS for second day
The Iraqi military continues to pound Islamic State group hideouts across the country after more security personnel were killed in the past week in attacks
2 min read
24 January, 2022
Islamic State continues to carry out a low-level insurgency in Iraq [Getty- archive]

Iraqi forces have continued extensive ground and air operations for a second consecutive day on Monday, targeting Islamic State [IS] group cells in the north and east of the country, where the militants once held large swathes of territory.

The escalation came after around 20 soldiers and civilians were killed in less than a week, including 10 soldiers and an officer in the eastern Diyala district in an attack claimed by IS.

On Monday, more casualties were recorded in the army after their vehicle was attacked in a roadside bomb in Kirkuk.

"In revenge for our righteous martyrs, and according to intel, the air force carried out, using F-16 jets, four airstrikes targeting IS terrorists, east of the Makhoul mountain range," an official statement said, adding that at least four IS members were killed.

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The airstrikes came in continuation of an operation carried out south of the Hatra district near the northern city of Mosul, which led to the killing of two IS leaders who were wearing explosive belts, and a third militant who was with them in the same vehicle, the statement added.

A military senior in the Saladin governorate said there was no fixed time for how long the operations would continue in the country, adding that the Iraqi armed forces would resort to new tactics to face IS which operates in small cells and ambush attacks.

The extremist group took over large swathes of Iraq and neighbouring Syria in 2014, declaring itself a new "caliphate" for Muslims, before Baghdad declared victory in late 2017 after a grinding national campaign.

But a low-level insurgency by the militants has persisted, flaring up at various points, especially in rural areas north of Baghdad around the city of Kirkuk, and in the eastern provinces of Diyala and Saladin.