SULAIMANI (ESTA) — Iraqi forces alongside Hashid al-Shaabi killed five Islamic State (ISIS) militants in an operation they launched in the mountain range in Diyala province, according to a military official.
Iraqi forces including the military, federal police and units of the Popular Mobilization Forces, also known as Hashid al-Shaabi, launched an operation on Sunday to inspect and clear the mountain range surrounding Lake Hamrin and areas in north of Saadia in Diyala province.
The security forces destroyed eight hideouts, two tunnels, six mortar rounds, and three explosive devices during the operation, said Yehia Rasool, spokesman for commander-in-chief of the armed forces.
The Iraqi military said on Sunday that the operation would be carried out in several phases and that it would continue to pursue ISIS militants and to create a safe environment for the return of displaced people to their areas.
Iraq declared victory over Islamic State in December 2017 but the militants have regrouped in the Hamrin mountain range which extends into the northern provinces – an area described by officials as a “triangle of death”.
Iraqi commanders have warned that the group has been regrouping in northern Iraq and relying on women to secure logistical support for their operatives in the Hamrin mountain range.
The area is caught between the jurisdictions of the Iraqi security forces and the Peshmerga forces.
Kurdish officials have said the militant group is using a security vacuum between the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the disputed areas, claimed by both the federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).