Iraqi forces and PUK’s Counter-Terrorism units launch operation against ISIS in Diyala Province

Diyala, July 2020 - Operation to eliminate threats posed by militant groups in Khanaqin - Photo from PMU PR department

Ameer Khanaqini - Diyala

Iraqi security forces, in cooperation with PUK’s Counter-Terrorism units and air support from the International Coalition, launched an operation with the objective of removing the threat posed by ISIS militants in Khanaqin Distrist, north-east of Diyala Provicne yesterday, 11 July 2020.

The operation is dubbed “Iraq’s Heroes,” continues for the second day as the area around Khanaqin is being swept to find remnants of ISIS.

Murtada al-Abdi, head of PR for PMU’s 1st Brigade, told KirkukNow yesterday: "During the military operations in the oil region of Khanna, we were able to dismantle 15 explosive devices and demolish five hide-outs of ISIS, and we found some logistical and military equipments belonging to the militants."

Majeed Musawi, commander of PMU’s 110th Brigade, told KirkukNow today: “A large area has been cleared and the operation is on-going. This will severely weaken ISIS in the area, because most of their hide-outs have been destroyed.”

Khanaqin, July 2020 - The copse of an ISIS member laid on a vehicle of PMU - Photo by KirkukNow

Musawi added that at the start of the operation’s second day, they have taken most of the militant’s daily necessities like food stuffs, transport vehicles like motorcycles, and material for making bombs.

The pasticipation of PUK’s Counter-Terrorism in the operation comes after the recent talks between Iraq’s Defence Ministry and KRG’s Peshmerga Ministry to establish a joint operation room in the disputed areas.

In a statement, the operation’s command says that the objective of the operation is to clear an area of 17,685 square kilometres from the militants.

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Diyala, July 2020 - Units from several separate Iraqi forces take part in the operation - Photo from Defence Ministry

A number of attacks have been reported this year in the Khanaqin District. Many villagers were killed or wounded in such attacks, and there has been a lot of material damage as well.

During the operation, three members of PMU were killed and four were injured by an IED explosion, when their convoy was targeted.

Diyala, July 2020 - Iraq’s Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazimi was in Khanaqin to oversee the operation - Photo from the prime minister’s PR office

At the village of Tal Manjil, four other members of PMU were injured by an IED explosion.

Authorities said that another IED targeted a unit of Iraqi Counter-Terror and injured two of its members and damaged their vehicle.

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