Conflict

Iraqi Security Forces undertake operations to root out ISIS cells in Diyala

Iraq

In order to rid the country of ISIS sleeper cells, the Iraqi Security Forces continue their security operations in the Diyala Province. In this operation ISIS hideouts were destroyed in Buhriz and Kanaan districts.

Continuing their efforts in clearing ISIS sleeper cells from Diyala Province, the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) have launched a military operation south of Buhriz and Kanaan districts. The operations, which included the participation of the police forces, air force, and the tribal PMU were able to clear hundreds of kilometers of dense farmlands in the villages of Bejat, Khawalis, Um al-Qutun and al-Qarni. The security forces were able to destroy ISIS hideouts and vehicles that the group used for transportation across the province.

This included motorbikes which enabled ISIS militants to ride across rough terrain, and boats to cross lake Hamrin. “One [ISIS] hideout was found underground in southern Buhriz. This hideout contained mattresses and foodstuffs. There were two explosive devices and two motorbikes,” said Lieutenant General Mizher al-Azzawi, the Commander of the Diyala Operation Command. Additionally, the ISF burned 25 boats that the group was using in the province.

Participants in the operations confirmed that the role that the Shammar tribe in the tribal PMU played in the operations is crucial as they have a more in-depth knowledge of the area and thus were able to impose their control more easily.

The operations in Diyala Province have been ongoing since mid-July as a result of the “Vengeance for Martyrs” Operation which was launched in response to ISIS’ killing of 8 kidnapped Iraqis.

Since then, dozens of ISIS militants have been captured including the leader of ISIS’ Kirkuk ‘Wilayah’ (Province) who was trying to sneak into the region.

The operations have also been successful in freeing two fish sellers kidnapped by ISIS.

“We managed to free two abductees that had come from Salahuddin to sell fish in Kanaan, but they were abducted by ISIS. Our security forces managed to free them,” said Lieutenant General al-Azzawi.

The Security Forces confirmed that they would continue their operations in the province until Diyala is wholly cleared of ISIS remnants and sleeper cells.