Iraqi security forces are seeking rural areas of Khanaqin district for Islamic State ISIS militants recently targeting civilians and security forces.
Iraqi army in coordination with pro-Shiite militia Popular Mobilization Forces PMF supported by air forces commenced an anti-ISIS operation in several fields in Khanaqin district, north east of Diyalah province dawn of February 28th, Iraqi army and PMF said.
"The goal behind this operation is to minimize Daesh in Khanaqin and Jalawla and put an end to their movements," a commander of PMF anonymously told KirkukNow.
Ammo and logistic equipments of ISIS were taken and several hideouts blown, the source added. "Sirwan riversides have become a safe haven for ISIS militants between Khanaqin and Jalawla for its intensive orchards and farms so we have to sweep it," the source who was not authorized to speak to media added.
In February 2021, regrouping remnants of ISIS have killed 10 fighters of PMF and 9 were injured in several assaults targeting security forces and the civilians in the region. Material damage hit houses and farms of the local residents.
In the last few months, IS fighters has carried out numerous attacks in the areas between those controlled by Iraqi forces and Kurdish Peshmarga fighters, taking advantage of the security vacuum in those territories.
Senior Iraqi and Kurdish officials have long argued that the extremist group continues to pose a significant threat to the Kurdish region and Iraq. They have been urging the international community for further support in the war against terrorism.
The village of Islah of Jalawla sub-district for being close to Sirwan riverside is a hot target for IS militants due to its geographical location. Khanaqin, located north east of Baghdad, is on the disputed territories, home to Kurds, Arabs and Turkmens, on the border with Iran.
OIR Spokesman Col. Wayne Marotto, the non-anonymous, official military Spokesman for Operation Inherent Resolve (OIR), the 83-member to Coalition defeat Deash (ISIS), tweeted on Sunday about Khanaqin operation, "The Iraqi security Forces ISF are chasing Daesh remnants & destroying their hideouts in rural areas, preventing their infiltration into the cities & promoting security & stability across Iraq."
"The operation have caused damage to the farms of the villagers as they have cut out many trees to open a road through the intensive farms to make it thinner and visible," a source from Islah village said on the condition of anonymity.
"The area became a place for hiding and threats. Due to the attacks of Daesh in the last two years which left tens of victims, the farmers of the village cannot peacefully and easily go to their farms and agricultural lands," he added.
"The villages agreed the army to cut out trees and cause damage to the farms on the condition of restoring safety and security for the village and the region," the villager said.
Daesh has carried out tens of attacks in Khanaqin and its suburbs leaving tens of victims and causing material damage to the residents.
Brigadier General Ra'ad mahmood, commander of Diyalah operations, assured the operations does not aim at cutting water from the area and deserting it and the procedures were followed to open a road for military vehicles to safeguard the riversides, a statement by PMF said.
The PMF statement followed a joint meeting between Iraqi army and PMF commanders about northeast of Khanaqin operation "aiming at eradicating threats and chasing Daesh militants."
Following the toppling of Saddam regime in 2003 by the US-led coalition, Iraqi Kurdish police and security forces were running the security of the region up to October 2017 when Iraqi army took control of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil.