Iraqi security forces kill eight ISIS militants in country’s north

Five years after terror group was declared defeated, its cells continue to mount hit-and-run attacks

Iraqi Special Forces members board a helicopter during the "Solid Will" military operation against ISIS militants in the Anbar desert in April 2022. Reuters
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Fighting broke out late on Sunday between Iraqi forces and ISIS in northern Iraq, killing eight militants and two security members.

The Iraqi Army and the Popular Mobilisation Forces, a state-sanctioned paramilitary group mainly comprising powerful Iran-backed militias, conducted a search operation in Jazerat Al Hadar south of Mosul, the government said.

“As the forces tried to break into one of the terrorists' dens, a terrorist blew up himself up,” the Joint Operation Command said.

Backed by aerial support from the Iraq Air Force, security forces clashed with the militants. Eight militants and two PMF fighters were killed, the Joint Operation Command added.

Several other security members were wounded, it said.

Handout pictures show security forces posing for a photo next to the broken bodies of the dead militants, which are piled in a military pickup truck.

In mid-2014, ISIS overran large parts of Iraq and Syria, declaring a “caliphate” in occupied territory.

Backed by a US-led international coalition, Iraq announced victory against ISIS in late 2017 after three years of gruelling fighting that left many of the occupied cities in ruins.

However, the terrorist group's cells continue to mount hit-and-run attacks, particularly in vast desert regions of northern and western Iraq near the border with Syria.

Iraqi security forces have been launching almost daily air strikes or small-scale military operations against ISIS in remote areas.

In May, ISIS claimed responsibility for two attacks on villagers in remote areas in northern and eastern Iraq, killing at least 12 and wounding several others.

There is no specific number for how many ISIS militants are active in Iraq, but counter-terrorism officials say there are several thousand, who operate as separate cells, carrying out quick attacks on selected targets.

To prevent the militants moving between Iraq and Syria, Iraq has been building a concrete wall along part of its border with Syria.

Updated: September 19, 2022, 8:46 AM