ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State (IS) militants on Monday killed three Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) militiamen near Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery in Salahuddin province, police and militia sources said.
Baiji, located 230 kilometers north of Baghdad, is Iraq's leading refinery, producing roughly one-third of the nation's total output.
After three years of fighting in the war-torn country, Iraq declared victory against IS last December. However, since then, the extremist group has resumed insurgent attacks, kidnappings, and ambushes, particularly in Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahuddin.
Police sources stated that seven IS militants opened fire on PMF militia members in Baiji. adding that four of the attackers were killed and two others escaped.
Some of the militants were identified as "wanted" members of IS, a security official told Reuters.
During the clashes, at least five other fighters from the Shia militia were critically injured, a local militia commander said.
With the support of the US-led coalition, Iraqi forces recently launched a military operation targeting IS in desert areas in disputed territories.
In the past few months, the area has witnessed an upsurge in attacks and kidnappings by the jihadist group. The most recent incident that grabbed the nation’s attention was the abduction and execution of eight Iraqi security force members on the Kirkuk – Baghdad road.
Editing by John J. Catherine