Three ISIS fighters killed in Kirkuk during Iraqi counter-terrorism operation
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Major General Yahya Rasoul, spokesperson for the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, on Tuesday announced the death of three ISIS fighters during a counter-terrorism operation in Kirkuk.
The spokesperson also added that the operation was carried out with the assistance of warplanes. One of the ISIS fighters was wearing a belt bomb and blew himself up after being surrounded, according to the general.
Kirkuk was under Kurdish Peshmerga forces' protection after ISIS emerged in 2014 and the subsequent collapse of the Iraqi army.
However, Kurdish attempts at secession from Iraq in 2017 led to a military invasion by the Iraqi Armed Forces, at the time causing a power vacuum that allowed ISIS to resurge, albeit slightly, in the oil-rich province.
The Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) led a ground assault on Kirkuk in Oct. 2017, a campaign pioneered by renowned Iranian general Qasem Soleimani, and took control of the province from the Peshmerga.