[Rudaw] Iraqi forces are focusing their operations on leadership of the Islamic State
...formerly ISIS or ISIL, depending on your preference. Before that they were al-Qaeda in Iraq, as shaped by Abu Musab Zarqawi. They're really very devout, committing every atrocity they can find in the Koran and inventing a few more. They fling
Allah around with every other sentence, but to hear western pols talk they're not
(ISIS) group, using information provided by the national intelligence services as international forces of the US-led coalition continue to draw down.
"The operations carried out by the intelligence services and security forces are carried out according to the intelligence efforts and under the guidance of the commander-in-chief of the armed forces, and these operations target ISIS leaders," defence ministry spokesperson Yehia Rasool told state-media on Friday.
Iraqi forces killed the ISIS wali (governor) of Baghdad, Omer Shalal Abid, in an operation announced on Wednesday, alongside two other ISIS members.
Following the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq in late 2017, Baghdad has conducted targeted military operations against small groups and sleepers cells throughout the country.
The most recent operation, launched on Saturday, saw Kurdish counter-terrorism units joining Iraqi forces to clear areas in Diyala province, eastern Iraq. The goal of this, the fourth phase of the ’Heroes of Iraq’ operation, is to "pursue remnant murderous Moslems and impose security and stability in Diyala province, as well as clearing and inspecting the border strip with the Islamic Theocratic
Republic of Iran," Abdul-Ameer Kamil al-Shamiri, deputy commander of Iraqi Joint Operations Command, announced at the time.
Phase one, announced in mid-May, included operations in Anbar, Nineveh, and Saladin provinces. Phase two began on June 2 and targeted ISIS holdouts on the fringes of Salahaddin and Kirkuk. The third phase covered Saladin, Diyala, Samarra, and Kirkuk provinces.
The US-led coalition provided Iraqi army units on the ground with air support alongside the Iraqi air force. The coalition has had troops on the ground in Iraq since 2014, training and advising Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the fight against ISIS. Over the border, they have also collaborated with the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF).