Mortar attack claims three lives in Iraq - GulfToday

Mortar attack claims three lives in Iraq


A group of women takes part in a training session at a military camp in Erbil on Tuesday. Reuters

A mortar bomb attack killed at least three people and injured four in the northern Iraqi town of Shirqat on Tuesday, police and hospital sources said.

Police officials in the area said Daesh militants were involved in the attack and the mortars were fired from a nearby mountainous area were militants are still active.

“Daesh fighters are hiding in (the) Makhoul mountains area and use it as a launchpad for their attacks,” said Shirqat police colonel Khalil Sahan.

Daesh has recently mounted a series of hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the government.

Iraq declared victory over the group, which once held large swathes of the country, in December 2017. But after they were defeated and driven out of areas they controlled for years, the militants have adapted their tactics to insurgent-style attacks.

On Sunday, Iraq’s military announced a new operation in an attempt to secure the vast western desert leading to the Syrian border, amid fears militant sleeper cells were using the area to regroup.

The operation, dubbed “Will of Victory,” began early on Sunday morning and would push to clear the remote territory between the provinces of Salahaddin, Nineveh and Anbar, a statement by the military said.

Iraqi armed forces, paramilitary units of the Hashed Al Shaabi, tribal groups and US-led coalition warplanes were all taking part, according to the statement.

“There are pockets of Daesh fighters in the northwestern, western, and southwestern parts of Salahaddin province,” a media official from the province’s military command said.

“Daesh is still present in these areas, and the operations will continue until they are cleared.”

Security analyst Hisham Al Hashemi said “Will of Victory” was aimed at depriving Daesh of the resources it uses to carry out those raids.

“It will drain Daesh’s logistical support in an area that makes up nearly a quarter of Iraq, by destroying their bases, training camps, depots and tunnels,” he said.

He said security forces were seeking to oust an estimated 1,000 Daesh fighters from the desert regions around Baaj, Rawah and Tharthar.

Iraq’s security forces have targeted Daesh in several coalition-backed operations in recent months, including in the rugged Hamrin region north of Baghdad.

Reuters/Agence France-Presse

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