Iraqi paramilitary forces kill 10 IS militants near Kirkuk

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-15 03:16:32|Editor: yan
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BAGHDAD, March 14 (Xinhua) -- The Iraqi government-backed paramilitary Hashd Shaabi members on Wednesday killed 10 Islamic State (IS) militants near the town of Hawijah in Iraq's northern province of Kirkuk, the Iraqi military said.

Acting on intelligence tips, paramilitary Hashd Shaabi fighters carried out an operation targeting IS hideouts at a village near Hawijah, some 230 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, killing 10 IS militants, the Hashd Shaabi said in a statement.

The intelligence service of the Hashd Shaabi was still chasing another group of IS militants in the rural area near Hawijah, the statement said.

Meanwhile, the Hashd Shaabi said in a separate statement that the paramilitary fighters found in the morning a grave containing six bodies, who were apparently executed earlier by IS militants near their former stronghold of Hawijah.

On Sunday, the Iraqi federal police and several Hashd Shaabi brigades carried out an operation to clear remnants of IS militants from a cluster of villages around the town of al-Ryahd in Hawijah Pocket southwest of the city of Kirkuk.

The operation was based on intelligence reports, which said that a number of IS militants hided in the area and were preparing for terrorist attacks against the security forces and civilians in the oil-rich Kirkuk province, according to a Hashd Shaabi statement.

During the past few months, dozens of IS militants fled their former urban strongholds in Mosul, Salahudin province and Hawijah area in the west of Kirkuk after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas during major anti-IS offensives.

However, remnants of IS militants resorted to hideouts in rugged areas near the rivers of Tigris and Zab, as well as the Himreen mountainous areas to continue their almost daily attacks against civilians and Iraqi forces.

On Dec. 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

However, small groups and individuals of IS militants are still capable of carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down.