Iraqi fighter jets kill 12 suspected ISIS militants in Baghdad
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi airstrikes killed at least 12 suspected members of the Islamic State in the vicinity of Baghdad province on Wednesday ahead of the annual Shiite Muslim pilgrimage to the capital, according to the country’s Joint Operations Command.
The strikes intended to “secure” the visitation of the Shiite pilgrims that march on foot towards Baghdad to commemorate the eighth-century death of Imam Musa Al-Kadhim, the seventh imam of the Twelver Shi’ism, Tahsin Al-Khafaji, the Command’s spokesperson announced on Tuesday.
The militants were targeted in the north, west, and southwest of Baghdad, according to a military official.
The Iraqi air force regularly conducts strikes against the remnants of ISIS, whose self-proclaimed caliphate was toppled by the Iraqi and Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga forces backed by the US-led international coalition in 2017.
Despite the territorial defeat it had suffered, the group still launches low-level insurgency against both security and civilian targets, particularly in those areas disputed by both Baghdad and Erbil.
A high-level Iraqi military delegation visited the Region early this week to discuss joint operations with the Kurdish forces.
Once controlling large swathes of land in both Iraq and Syria, the group’s militants are estimated to be around 6,000-10,000 fighters, according to a United Nations report last July.
At least a dozen members of the Iraqi security forces were killed by suspected ISIS in the disputed territories late last year.