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Iraqi PMU forces launch operation to purge Diyala's rural areas from Daesh terrorists

In this file picture, fighters from Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units gather around the Tal Afar airport as they and Iraqi army forces advance in their campaign to drive Daesh Takfiri terrorist group out of the Iraqi city. (Photo by AFP)

Iraqi anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units – better known as Hashd al-Sha’abi – have launched an operation to clear Daesh remnants from villages and rural areas in the eastern province of Diyala near the border with Iran.

Talib al-Mousawi, commander of Hashd al-Sha’abi operations in Diyala, said in a statement that PMU brigades pushed into areas north of the provincial capital city of Baquba some 50 km northeast of Baghdad to chase Daesh militants.

A unit of Hashd al-Sha’abi forces carried out a rapid mopping-up operation in an area of the Hamrin heights where Daesh militants were holed out, preparing for terrorist attacks against security forces and local civilians, he added. 

The senior commander said PMU fighters detonated several explosive devices belonging to the terrorists, and successfully completed their mission despite scorching heat in the rugged mountainous area, adding they will continue to pursue Daesh remnants.

Meanwhile, Hashd Sha’abi forces successfully foiled an infiltration attempt by a group of Daesh terrorists into an area in the central province of Salahuddin.

According to a report published by Iraq’s al-Ahad television network, the 41st Brigade of Hashd Sha’abi responded on Saturday to a terrorist group attempting to cross into al-Ajiliyah area of the Yathrib district.

“Following the terrorist attack, Hashd Sha’abi forces launched an operation to hunt down Daesh elements and establish stability and security in the area,” the report added.

The developments came a day after Daesh terrorists attacked a funeral in the Balad district of Salahuddin province, killing at least five people and wounding 20 others.

Hashd al-Sh’abai fighters have played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of Baghdad, ever since the terrorists launched an offensive in the country in June 2014.

Back in November 2016, the Iraqi parliament approved a law giving full legal status to the fighters. It recognized the PMU as part of the national armed forces, placed the forces under the command of the prime minister, and granted them the right to receive salaries and pensions like the regular army and police forces.

The anti-terror group, however, is the occasional target of US and Israeli airstrikes and a malicious campaign to sideline and dismantle the organization.  

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