Iraqi forces target IS enclave in 'mop-up operation'

Iraqi forces target IS enclave in 'mop-up operation'
Three brigades of militias and Iraqi forces were sent to clear a small village of IS forces that had been left behind in the rush to capture Mosul.
2 min read
29 November, 2016
Anti-terror operations in the region north of Samarra have been operating since March [Anadolu]
The Iraqi army launched a new operation to defeat a small enclave of Islamic State [IS] fighters in the Salahuddin province on Tuesday, in retaliation against a string of suicide attacks in Samarra the day before. 

Joint Special Operations Command said in a press release on Tuesday that militia forces, fighting with the 60th brigade, were dispatched to the small village of Kanauus, near al-Shirqat, to fight IS.

"The operation came very late, but it is very important as IS carries out attacks from this village – including the attack on Samarra yesterday," Sheikh Wadah al-Obeidi, leader of a local tribal coalition, told The New Arab.

Obeidi said that Iraqi airstrikes were being used in the attack on IS defences, which were being steadily subdued.

"There's a possibility that the village could be liberated within a day or two," he said.

Local council member for the town of Sharqat, Salim al-Jubouri, told The New Arab in an interview that the Iraqi government had previously neglected various pockets of IS fighters in its mission to capture Mosul.

"The mistake made by security agents was to neglect the pockets of areas under the control of IS.

"They ignored all the warning signs and didn't act until it was too late – we suffered losses as a result of that – like yesterday in Samarra."

On Monday, five gunmen stormed the city of Samarra, located 70 km north of Baghdad and killed four security forces members in "inghimasi" attacks.

Inghimasi attacks involve suicide bombers using automatic weapons to get closer to their targets in order to maximise their deadly capability.

IS have launched a number of similar attacks in recent weeks on Kirkuk, Rutba and Sinjar.