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PMU launches ‘intelligence operation’ to dismantle Daesh sleeper cell in northern Iraq

US Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-MN) (L) talks with Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) during a rally with fellow Democrats before voting on H.R. 1, or the People Act, on the East Steps of the US Capitol on March 08, 2019 in Washington, DC. (AFP photo)
In this file picture, fighters from Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) 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)

Iraq’s anti-terror Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), an umbrella organization composed of the Arab country’s resistance groups, have launched an operation to clear the remnants of the Daesh (ISIS) terrorist group in northern Iraq.

In a statement released on Tuesday, the PMU, also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, said the operation was conducted on the heels of the criminal incident between Taza and Rashad sectors near the northern city of Kirkuk. 

Ali al-Hussaini, the spokesman for the North Axis Command at PMF, also said that the operation was carried out after terrorist gangs took advantage of the bad weather to launch their attacks on defenseless citizens in the area. 

“A force from the North command’s intelligence sector launched an intelligence operation to uncover the locations of Daesh terrorist gangs after the sinister incident committed by criminal gangs against citizens in the area between Taza and Rashad sectors,” al-Hussaini was quoted as saying. 

Iraqi sources earlier reported that four people were killed on Monday in a terrorist attack on Kirkuk province.

Meanwhile, Iraq’s Security Media Cell announced on Sunday that the country’s security and military forces arrested 21 Daesh terrorists, including commanders, in several provinces across the country, including Anbar, Kirkuk, Nineveh, and Diyala, as part of their operations against the remnants of the Takfiri militants.

Also on Sunday, three terrorists were killed in several rounds of Iraqi airstrikes in Salahuddin.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.

In recent years, the PMU has played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had initially suffered heavy setbacks in the face of Daesh's gains.

Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December 2017 after a three-year counter-terrorism military campaign, which also had the support of neighboring Iran.

The terror outfit’s remnants, however, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq, attempting to regroup and unleash a new era of violence.

Daesh has intensified its attacks in Iraq since January 2020, when the United States assassinated top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and PMU’s deputy commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, near Baghdad International Airport.

Anti-US sentiments sharply increased in Iraq in the aftermath of the assassination, prompting Iraqi lawmakers to pass a bill – only two days after the terrorist attack – that required the Baghdad government to end the presence of all foreign military forces led by Washington.


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