ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – In separate operations in western and northern Iraq on Friday, anti-ISIS coalition warplanes and local security forces killed a number of alleged Islamic State fighters. Iraqi troops also reportedly captured an individual handling the extremist group’s logistics support in eastern parts of Anbar province.
“An international coalition airstrike killed several terrorists inside a tunnel in the Badush mountains,” the Iraqi military communications center known as the Security Media Cell said in a statement. It added that a ground team then deployed to the area and confiscated a number of explosive devices and food supplies being used by the militants.
The Badush mountains are located in a remote area of the northern province of Nineveh where Islamic State militants previously sought shelter in extensive tunnels they had built there.
Later, Iraq's Military Intelligence Directorate announced the arrest of an Islamic State official who it said had been managing the "logistics" for the group's activities in Anbar’s provincial capital of Ramadi, an area that the terrorist organization overran in 2015 and held until Iraqi forces pushed them back in 2016.
The individual was wanted as per Article 4 of Iraq’s counter-terrorism law, the directorate said. Iraqi security forces routinely make this claim in such public statements despite the fact that Article 4 only addresses sentencing guidelines.
Backed by the US-led international coalition, Iraqi forces launched another series of operations against the Islamic State in recent days and weeks. Security forces continue to hunt down remnants of the extremist organization across the country in attempts to prevent those loyal to it from regrouping to pose an increased threat.
Baghdad declared an official military victory against the Islamic State in late 2017, but the group continues to launch insurgent attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings across much of the country. Officials from the Kurdistan Region and Iraq have repeatedly warned of a possible resurgence of the terrorist group.
In mid-November, Iraqi police announced the death of two Islamic State “leaders” in the disputed province of Kirkuk and the arrest of a former member of the group’s feared “Islamic Police” in Mosul.
One week earlier, the military said its forces, in coordination with coalition warplanes, killed a “large number of terrorists” in areas outside of the disputed town of Makhmour, a disputed territory located southwest of Erbil province.
Editing by John J. Catherine