Iraqi forces kill 12 'terrorists' in Kirkuk, arrest others in Anbar
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraq’s ministry of interior announced on Friday the killing of twelve “terrorists” in a remote area southwestern Kirkuk Province, alleging four of them were high ranking members of an unnamed armed group. Security forces also arrested twelve other suspected jihadists in western Anbar province.
Counter-terrorism forces “were able to kill 12 terrorists, among them 4 leaders, and warehouses that stored different weapons and equipment in one of the valleys of Hawija [District],” the Security Media Cell (SMC) said in a statement, without detailing the date of the operation, although it is believed to have been carried out earlier in the day.
Those killed were part of “criminal group” that was behind a bombing which employed the use of an “improvised explosive device against security detachments in the district in the past two days.” Though the statement did not name the group to which the jihadists belonged, the area where the counterterrorism operation had taken place is a known Islamic State hotbed.
Special Forces personnel also arrested twelve other suspected terrorists in a crackdown in western Anbar province, the SMC statement added.
In ongoing efforts to clear out the Islamic State’s network of hideouts, Iraqi forces backed by the US-led coalition air support on April 11 began shelling the area known as the Hamrin Mountains, killing one of the extremist group's commanders and four other members.
Despite such concerted efforts, the Islamic State remains active and carries out regular attacks in surrounding areas, especially in villages and out-of-the-way territory where security forces have difficulty monitoring the group’s movements.
On Wednesday, Islamic State fighters ambushed an Iraqi federal police vehicle also in southwest Kirkuk Province, killing a ranked officer and injuring two of his subordinates, a security source confirmed on Thursday.
The gunmen carried out the attack in broad daylight, with a security source explaining that they staged the ambush outside the village of al-Riyadh, located just 14 kilometers (8.5 miles) from Hawija District’s capital city, also called Hawija.
Editing by John J. Catherine