BAGHDAD, July 25 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi security forces captured Wednesday a local leader of extremist Islamic State (IS) group in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, while an Iraqi court sentenced a prominent IS leader to death penalty.
Maj. Gen. Faisal al-Abadi, chief of Diyala's provincial police, told Xinhua that a joint force from police intelligence and Counter-Terrorism Service carried out an operation in Tabaj area in northeast of the provincial capital Baquba, some 65 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, and captured an IS leader and three of his aides.
The leader is responsible for movement of IS militants and suicide bombers in Himreen mountainous area which stretches on the provincial border between Diyala and its northern neighbor Kirkuk, al-Abadi said.
The captured leader was "emir" of IS responsible for applying the law of the extremist group in the town of Hawijah, but he ran away after the Iraqi forces liberated the areas in west of Kirkuk in October last year.
Despite repeated military operations in the Diyala province, remnants of IS militants are still hiding in some rugged areas near the border with Iran, and in the sprawling areas extending from the western part of the province to Himreen mountain range.
Meanwhile, Nineveh Criminal Court in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh issued a verdict of death penalty for an IS leader, known as al-Muhajir.
He was sentenced for his role in slaughtering civilians in the town of Sinjar, some 120 km west of Mosul, and fighting against the Iraqi security forces during the battles to liberate IS major stronghold in Mosul in 2017, Abdul Sattar al-Biraqdar, spokesman for Iraq's Supreme Judicial Council, said in a statement.
In another statement, Biraqdar said the Central Criminal Court in Baghdad issued two verdicts of life imprisonment for two terrorists for joining IS group and involvement in terrorist acts against civilians and Iraqi security forces.
On Dec. 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from the IS extremist group.