Iraq Joint Operation forces target ISIS leaders in Diyala

On the 28th June Iraqi Joint Operations Command launched airstrikes on ISIS targets in the province of Diyala after receiving intelligence about Jihadist presence in and around the village of Mukhisa, northeast of Baquba. The airstrike reportedly killed 20 ISIS fighters including a number of senior commanders in the group.

The Joint Operations Command confirmed that Abu Hassan, the group’s designated governor of Diyala was killed in the airstrike  just hours after his inauguration. Citizens praised the performance of the Joint Task Force and their special operations, but the danger still exists because of the orchards, which are described as ISIS hotspots. From these areas Jihadi fighters launch attacks on villages and towns in the province.

This attack comes just a day after an ISIS suicide bomber’s belt reportedly exploded prematurely killing the militants and 12 of his fellow fighters. The fighter’s suicide belt reportedly detonated just as he was about to leave his base in Mukhisa.

Attacks launched by ISIS militants against security troops, the pro-government forces and civilians surged over the past few weeks in northeast of Diyala. Observers believe that even after ISIS’ main havens across Iraqi provinces are retaken, the group may still constitute a security threat through sleeper cells and lone wolf attacks.

Diyala is a religiously mixed province. For this reason ISIS has launched a series of coordinated attacks targeting soft targets in an attempt to enflame sectarian tensions and draw more supporters. Iraqi forces, as a result have launched a number of sweeping operations in a bid to clear these sensitive areas of Jihadi militants.