Iraqi forces, PMF launch joint ops to find kidnapped civilians in Diyala

Commanders of the Iraqi military and PMF plan on a map to launch a joint operation to find civilians kidnapped by ISIS in Diyala, December 16, 2021. (Photo: INA)

SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi forces conducted a search operation to find civilians kidnapped by Islamic State (ISIS) militants in Diyala province, Iraqi media reported on Thursday.

On Monday, ISIS militants kidnapped four civilians in Hamrin Lake in al-Saadiya district in Diyala province, Iraq’s security media cell said.

Security sources told Iraqi media that one of the abductees was an officer at the directorate of civil status, who visited the area from Baghdad.

In a statement, the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) said its units and the Iraqi military had launched a joint security operation from three axes to search for the civilians.

ISIS militants have increased attacks against the civilians and the security forces in the disputed territories, claimed by both Erbil and Baghdad.

Dozens of people and members of the security forces have been killed in attacks in the past weeks.

Islamic State controlled roughly a third of Iraq between 2014 and 2017. Iraqi forces and Kurdish troops backed by U.S.-led Coalition forces as well as Iran-backed Shia militias defeated the militant group in 2017, but its members still roam areas of northern Iraq and northeastern Syria.

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