ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s military on Sunday said that its forces, in coordination with the international anti-Islamic State Coalition, killed a “large number of terrorists” in areas outside of the disputed town of Makhmour, located southwest of Erbil Province.
A counter-terrorism team, backed by coalition air support, “conducted a massive operation to pursue remnants of the Da’esh [Islamic State] terrorist gangs in the Makhmour mountains,” the military communications center known as the Security Media Cell said in a statement.
Fourteen airstrikes “resulted in the death of a large number of terrorists and the destruction of trenches and hideouts,” the statement concluded.
Makhmour is one of the territories contested by both the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq. It is currently under the control of Iraqi forces.
The area, primarily its nearby rugged mountain ranges, is among the rural regions that have been a hotbed of Islamic State sleeper cells since it lost the last bit of territory it controlled in Iraq in late 2017 when Baghdad proclaimed a final victory over the terrorist organization. Since then, however, the group has continued to launch insurgency attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings in the country.
On Friday, the Iraqi military said that “terrorist elements” had fired 17 Katyusha rockets at the Qayyarah military base, which hosts US troops and is located about 43 kilometers to the west of the town of Makhmour. According to an announcement, the action resulted in no casualties.
No group has yet claimed responsibility for this attack.
A security source told Kurdistan 24 then that Iraqi military officials had exaggerated the number of missiles, which were fewer than 17.
Editing by John Catherine