Iraqi warplanes, Hashd al-Sha'abi fighters take on Daesh remnants in Diyala
Iraqi warplanes and fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha'abi, have embarked on sweeping operations to clear the western border province of Diyala of remnants of the Takfiri terrorist group of Daesh.
As part of the operations, the terrorists’ important positions and headquarters have been heavily bombed over the past three days, especially in the province’s Sheikh Baba village and the mountainous Hamrin area, Abdulkhaliq al-Azzawi, a member of Iraq's parliamentary Committee on Defense and Security, was quoted as saying by al-Maloumah news agency on Sunday.
The operations, he added, have destroyed Daesh’s underground facilities in the areas, many of which contained explosive materials and ammunition.
“Daesh has lost some of its elements during the recent aerial attacks,” he also reported, but said the inaccessible terrain was preventing people on the ground from keeping track of the exact death toll.
Sadiq al-Husseini, the spokesman for the PMU’s division in Diyala, said the airstrikes had killed a Daesh operations officer, who used to function as one of the group’s notable ringleaders and had led attacks against security forces over the past months.
Iraq’s Arabic-language al-Sumaria television network, meanwhile, cited the PMU’s Media Directorate as reporting that the joint security operations had resulted in “cleansing” of “villages in [Diyala’s] Khanaqin District,” saying as a result of the victory, “Nisimiyah roads were opened.”
According to al-Maloumah, the operations are recruiting the Iraqi Army’s air force and army aviation as well as Hashd’s fifth division.
Separately, the PMU released a statement announcing the start of a similar joint operation in Qaratappa in Diyala that lies to the southwest of the western oil-rich city of Kirkuk.