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Iraq's PM security detail commander killed in armed clash in Salahuddin province

Iraq special forces conduct an operation targeting possible remaining Daesh terrorists in the Wadi Shabjah area,on the border with Saudi Arabia, on February 12, 2018. (Photo by AFP)

Iraq's Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi security detail commander has been killed in firefight in the country's northern Salahuddin province.

According to Iraqi security sources, Special Forces commander Sherif Ismail Ebeid was killed on Tuesday during a shootout with local fighters while preparing the ground for a trip planned for Wednesday by Abadi.

"The general was killed and three of his men were wounded," said the sources claiming that clashes broke out after a verbal altercation spiraled out of control with fighter from Saraya al-Salam (the Peace Brigades) which is a militia group formed by the cleric Moqtada al-Sadr.

The prime minister's office confirmed the general's death, blaming it on gun fire from "undisciplined fighters", without referring to any group's name.

It added that Abadi had "ordered the immediate opening of an investigation" into the incident.

A spokesman for the Peace Brigades said that Abadi's security detail had attacked their forces which resulted in the firefight which caused Ebeid's death.

“A government convoy, including big number of troops, was coming from Baghdad to Samarra. As it arrived at the central checkpoint in Samarra, the troops refused the measures taken by the security troops, composed of federal police and three personnel of the Peace Brigades,” said Mohannad al-Azzawi.

He added that the convoy “opened fire against police and beat the brigades personnel and confiscated their weapons.”

The incident comes two months ahead of legislative elections in Iraq that Abadi is hoping will see him remain in charge after claiming victory against the Daesh terrorist group at the end of last year.

In December, Abadi declared the end of military operations against the Daesh terrorist group in the Arab country.

The announcement came after the Iraqi army soldiers, backed by allied fighters, managed to clear the western desert bordering Syria of the last pockets of Takfiri militants.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. Iraqi forces then launched operations to eliminate Daesh and retake lost territory, and last month, Iraqi forces liberated Rawa, the last remaining town in the grip of the terror outfit.

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