In order to continue its hunting down of ISIS sleeper cells, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) has launched operations in the desert regions shared by the three provinces of Anbar, Nineveh, and Salahuddin.
Continuing their pursuit of ISIS sleeper cells throughout the country, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have launched a pre-emptive anti-ISIS operation on an area that shares borders with Anbar, Nineveh and Salahuddin Provinces. The operation, which was launched due to joint coordination between the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU), the Jazira Operations Command and the Iraqi Army, was successful in eliminating at least 14 ISIS militants, including one of the group’s leaders.
“Several ISIS militants including the Tunisian Abu Qasuara, two Syrian nationals, and Iraqis were killed [in operation],” said Tareq al-Asal, the Deputy Commander of the PMU in Anbar. “Those killed will be sorted and announced killed in a consolidated statement. Now, they are being identified.”
Furthermore, this operation resulted in the discovery and destruction of 10 ISIS sites, three car-bombs and over a dozen motorcycles.
Further down south in the province, in the desert of Husayniyat, south of Rutba, the Anbar Police Command launched an operation led by the Command’s Special Tactical unit, leading to the arrest of ISIS leaders who revealed to the units where their sites were hidden.
“[The arrested leaders] were interrogated and confessed about many terrorist plots. They also revealed the hidden sites underground and in the mountainous areas such as the desert of Husayniyat and the Anbar desert,” said Hadi Rzeij Kassar, the commander of the Anbar Police. “This information and this investigation led to the elimination of these sites and the seizure of many weapons.”
According to some observers and analysts, the collapse of ISIS’ security apparatus has been one of the main repercussions that the militant group has faced since their defeat in Baghouz in Syria. Due to rumours of betrayal amongst the central leadership, the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was prompted to appear for the first time in 5-years to show off his control over the group.
While ISIS remains to have sleeper cells operating throughout the country, the Iraqi forces have continued to launch operations to rid the country of these militant groups that threaten the lives of civilians.