IS militants killed in coalition airstrikes: Iraqi military

Source: Xinhua| 2018-06-29 04:55:28|Editor: zh
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BAGHDAD, June 28 (Xinhua) -- A number of Islamic State (IS) militants have been killed in central Iraq in airstrikes launched by the international anti-IS coalition, the Iraqi military said Thursday.

Acting on intelligence tips from the Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service (CTS), the coalition aircraft pounded IS positions and underground bases in Himreen mountainous area and the nearby Himreen Lake, Yahya Rasoul, spokesman of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command, said in a statement.

The successful strikes killed a group of IS and other militants, and destroyed a camp and three tunnels, which were used in carrying out terrorist attacks on the main road that connecting the provinces of Kirkuk, Salahudin and Diyala, Rasoul said without saying when the airstrikes took place.

Earlier in the day, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, tasked the elite CTS forces with launching operations against the terrorist group, which killed and kidnapped dozens of civilians and security members in the past few weeks.

A statement by his office said Abadi visited the headquarters of the CTS and met with the commanders to discuss the operations.

"Daesh (IS group) are not in control of any areas, and its members are hiding in mountains, which they used previously, and we have ordered to hunt them down," Abadi said.

Abadi's comments came a day after the Iraqi forces found eight executed bodies of people kidnapped earlier by the IS group near the village of Sarha at the provincial border between Diyala and Salahudin in central Iraq.

The bodies included six policemen and members of the paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces.

The latest deterioration in security led to criticism of the Iraqi security forces for failing to stop the repeated IS attacks on soldiers and civilians, and the kidnapping of dozens of people at fake checkpoints on a main road between Baghdad and Kirkuk.

During the past months, hundreds of IS militants fled their former urban strongholds in Mosul, Salahudin Province and Hawija area in the west of Kirkuk, after Iraqi forces took over these regions in major offensives.

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

However, small groups of IS militants have since regrouped in rugged areas, carrying out attacks against security forces and civilians from time to time.