Iraqi security in ongoing operation against Islamic State in Diyala: Local politician
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Iraqi government is intensifying efforts with the aid of local police forces to expel militants in areas of the Diyala Governorate that the Islamic State (IS) is suspected to be controlling.
“Iraqi military with the aid of Operations Unit of Federal Police, and Qara Tapa district Police” launched an operation against the militant group in the Hamrin Mountains to sweep and clear the region, Kurdistan 24’s Harem Jaff reported from Diyala province’s Qarah Tapah district.
“As a result of [early stage] clashes, Iraqi military helicopters burned a Toyota vehicle of the terrorists,” Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) Committee-Secretary in Qarah Tapah Mohammed Omar told Kurdistan 24.
The army has also “confiscated another vehicle, but the number of casualties [from the operation] is as of yet unknown,” Omar continued.
Iraqi Federal Police also led an operation against IS in mid-June, capturing four members and burning three hideouts, as the Ministry of Interior stated.
The government efforts come after an increase in IS bombings and assassinations in Iraq in general, and in the areas disputed between Baghdad and the Kurdistan Region in particular.
The rise in the number of attacks in the Diyala Governorate prompted some locals of a village to gather their belongings and leave the region after they fended off an attack by IS and lost one person.
Diyala, one of the contested areas of Iraq, ranked second in May for the number of casualties from violence, according to a statement from the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).
IS has also given the Iraqi government a three-day ultimatum to release Sunni female prisoners after which, should the government fail to give in, six men, who in a video the extremists released claimed to be Iraqi security and militiamen, will be executed.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany
(Harem Jaff contributed to this report)