Starting in Diyala province, Iraqi forces have resumed Operation Heroes of Iraq, with the objective of eliminating remnants of ISIS militants and tightening security.
The operation was resumed yesterday (26 July 2020) with the participation of Federal Police, Internal Police, Rapid Response Force and the Popular Mobilization Units PMU.
Abu-Mustafa Ambagi, commander of 23rd brigade of the PMU, told KirkukNow: “The operation started at three fronts in Diyala. We, the PMU, started from the east and west banks of Alwand river, stretching about 12 km.”
The operation will have a general good effect on the elimination of ISIS remnants
“The operation will have a general good effect on the elimination of ISIS remnants; it will continue for several days.”
According to a statement by the joint operation room, this is part of Phase 4 of Operation Heroes of Iraq, which has been going on for several months in a few provinces.
The statement reads: “This phase is to chase out the remnants of ISIS, tightening security and making possible for the displaced to return to the region.”
The operation covers the Diyala basin, south of Khanaqin, Um-Huta river, Abbara among other areas.
Another objective of this operation is the elimination of activities by ISIS at the Diyala-Samarra-Kirkuk triangle
A PMU commander at the Diyala front told KirkukNow: “Another objective of this operation is the elimination of activities by ISIS at the Diyala-Samarra-Kirkuk triangle, but also to control ISIS strategic points. They have a strategic line that stretches from Mount Makhul to Imam-Ways south of Khanaqin.”
“After the [conclusion] of the operation, security forces will be stationed at the cleared areas,” he added.
Sayf Sattar, commissioner of the Islah, a village which has been attacked several times in the last two years, told KirkukNow: “Our village is located in the area that the operation will cover. ISISI gunmen have killed many of us in this region. As residents of this area, we request that our area to be made safe so we can do daily work.”
Another part of the operation which was focused on the Khanaqin district, was concluded on 14 July. Three individuals, whom the security forces say were ISIS militants, were killed and several hideouts were destroyed during that part.
A commander who participated in the operation told KirkukNow at the time that “the operation will immensely weaken ISIS and reduce their activities.”
But one day after that, on 15 July, one farmer was killed and four others injured (one of whom also died from his injuries ten days later) in an attack by unknown gunmen.
And a week later clashes erupted between security forces and gunmen leading to casualties and injuries. The clashes happened after security forces went to a location where an ISIS flag was raised.