At least six pro-government Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units have lost their lives and more than two dozen others sustained injuries in a bomb attack targeting their base in Iraq’s north-central province of Salahuddin as army troopers, backed by their allies, are trying to flush the last remnants of the Daesh terrorist group out of the crisis-hit Arab country.
Mohammed al-Jubouri, a provincial police source, said a bomber blew up his explosive belt early on Wednesday at an outpost manned by members of a tribal force operating under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Units – better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi – in the village of Asdira, located 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of the capital Baghdad.
Jubouri added that up to 30 Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters were wounded by the blast, including former lawmaker Adnan al-Ghannam.
The Iraqi police official noted that the death toll is expected to rise as some of the wounded are in critical conditions.
No group has claimed responsibility for the attack yet, but it bears the hallmark of such attacks carried out by the Daesh Takfiri terror group against Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters in the area.
On August 11, Daesh Takfiri terrorists killed five members of a family operating under the umbrella of the Popular Mobilization Units at a checkpoint in Salahuddin province.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, pledged on June 30 to hunt down Daesh militants across Iraq after a series of attacks and abductions carried out by the terrorist group.
“We will chase the remaining cells of terrorism in their hideouts and we will kill them, we will chase them everywhere, in the mountains and the desert,” Abadi said.
Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
On July 10 that year, the Iraqi prime minister had formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and volunteer Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.