Six elements of “Elite Battalion” related to ISIS have been killed on late Thursday, as the International Coalition’s fighter jets bombarded their strongholds in the Iraqi city of Mousl in the framework of the current military operations aiming to liberate the Iraqi second largest city from the grip of the extremist group.
In the same context, the Iraqi troops launched a military operation in the northern area of Diyala province leading to the destruction of a bombing wheel and the killing of a large number of extremist elements. Meanwhile, Directorate of Military Intelligence announced that the International Coalition launched air raids against the strongholds of the extremist group in Mousl, leading to the killing of a number of its militants, including a number of Russians.
Five Islamic State leaders, including Russian nationals, died late Thursday when U.S.-led coalition fighter jets pounded their locations in western Mosul, Iraqi military intelligence services said. The service said in a statement that coalition jets killed Islamic State’s military area commander for Mesherfa region, Abu Mariam al-Hadidi. It added that four Russian members were killed when the strikes targeted al-Sihha district.
Iraqi forces recaptured the eastern side of Mosul in January after three months of fighting with Islamic State, and sat on a new offensive in February to retake the western region. Commanders said earlier this month that the Islamic State was controlling only less than seven percent of Iraqi territory, and that only six districts were still witnessing IS presence.
Islamic State has lost many of its senior commanders since operations launched to retake the western side of Mosul. Officials from the U.S.-led coalition estimate the number of remaining militants in Mosul by less than 1000. Operations are currently eyeing the Old City area, where IS first declared the establishment of its rule in 2014.
The conflict in Mosul has so far displaced more than half a million of the city’s population, according to the Iraqi government and the United Nations.
In Nineveh, Iraqi Ministry of Defense’s War Media Cell announced, on Thursday, that dozens of the Islamic State members were killed and four explosives plants were destroyed by F16 fighter jets air strikes, west of Mosul.
The cell said in a statement, “Today, F16 fighter jets carried out several air strikes on Tal Afar District, destroying 3 explosives plants and a hideout belonging to the Islamic State, as well as killing dozens of militants.”
“The air strike also destroyed another explosives plant in al-Mahlabiyah area, west of Mosul,” the statement added. The statement also revealed that the air strike was carried out based on accurate information obtained from ‘We Are Coming, Nineveh’ Intelligence Cell.
On the other hand, Three Islamic State militants were killed Thursday while a fourth was arrested while trying to plant bombs targeting paramilitary forces at Salahuddin-Diyala borders.
Mahdi Taqi, a member at the security committee at Salahuddin province, said three militants were killed and a fourth was attested, while an explosive device was neutralized in a “preemptive operation” by al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) in Kifri, a region on the borders with Diyala. He said the militants were killed while planting landmines targeting the forces.
Meanwhile, an official in Diyala said IS began to detonate civilian homes o prevent the return of refugees at the borders with Salahuddin.
Udai al-Kahdran, mayor of al-Khales (15 km north of Baqubah), said in a press statement that Islamic State members began, days earlier, to blow up civilian houses at Boujanaan, Boujomaa and Hathal al-Mutlak border villages. He said the action comes as part of IS attempts to prevent refugees’ repatriation and to blame the damage on Iraqi forces.
Khadran reiterated that the borders between Salahuddin and Diyala continue to pose a security challenge that requires military action to eliminate the group’s pockets at the abandoned villages. The Iraqi government is expected to launch offensives at IS havens across Iraq once finished with its operation in Mosul, IS’s largest bastion in Iraq.
In the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, One person was killed, five others were injured as an IED, that targeted Shia pilgrims, exploded on al-Resala al-Oula district of Baghdad, a security source said.
“A bomb planted near Shia pilgrims on al-Resala al-Oula district in al-Baiyaa region, south of Baghdad, exploded leaving one person killed and four others wounded,” the source told Al Ghad Press on Thursday.
“Security troops cordoned off the blast spot preventing approach of citizens in fear of other blasts,” the source said, adding that “the forces kept the pilgrims en route to Kadhimiyah neighborhood away from the place and guided them to alternative roads.
On the political side, Turkish government blames what it described as sectarian policies adopted by Iraq’s former Prime Minister Nuri Al Maleki for the current crisis witnessed in the country, saying that Iraqi Sunnis turned to support ISIS extremist group because of these policies. It called the Iranian government for bearing its responsibility towards the current sectarian crisis witnessed in the country.
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