The Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by their Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, says it has fought off an attack by the Daesh terrorist group against an area south of the Iraqi city of Samarra.
In a statement on Friday, the Hashd al-Sha’abi said the Daesh elements were trying to infiltrate through Tal al-Zahab region, south of Samarra, and block a strategic road to the city of al-Balad and the Shrine of Syed Muhammad bin Imam Hadi.
However, it added, the terrorists were detected with the use of thermal cameras, and the Hashd al-Sha’abi forces repelled their offensive.
Earlier this month, the Hashd al-Sha’abi deployed massive forces in Diyala province near Iran's border to counter Daesh terrorists in joint operations with the Iraqi army.
The move came after Daesh terrorists attacked an important oil-rich area east of the province on the Iraqi-Iranian border.
Several members of the popular forces were killed and wounded in the terrorist attack on the city of Diyala.
It was the biggest deployment of PMU in the region since 2003 to counter the threat of Daesh.
In another attack this month, at least seven fighters from the Hashd al-Sha'abi lost their lives and several others sustained injuries when a massive bomb explosion struck their convoy in Iraq’s north-central province of Salahuddin.
There were no immediate claims of responsibility for the attack, but such assaults bear the hallmark of the Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi stressed on November 5 last year that efforts were underway to find financial sources to support Hashd al-Sha’abi forces.
“Maintaining Hashd al-Sha’abi is one of our most important duties, and I strongly support its presence. There are those who are trying to say that Hashd al-Sha’abi is temporary, but I emphasize that such a force is a necessity,” Abdul-Mahdi said.
Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters have played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, ever since the terrorists launched an offensive in the country, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.
In November 2016, the Iraqi parliament voted to integrate Hashd al-Sha’abi, which was formed shortly after the emergence of Daesh, into the military.
Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the country on December 9, 2017.
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