Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi announced on Tuesday a military operation to hunt for dormant Islamic State militants in Jazira area northeast of Baghdad and Euphrates heights. “We have started an operation in Jazira area and Euphrates heights to prevent the emergence of any terrorist group,” said Abadi at his weekly press conference in Baghdad. ISIS’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” effectively collapsed, when US-backed Iraqi forces completed the takeover of the militants’ capital in Mosul, after a nine-month campaign. Iraqi forces discovered a bomb-making factory in western Mosul, interior ministry said on Sunday. Iraqi Ministry of Interior said in a statement that a unit of Mosul directorate police found a factory where vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were made by Islamic State in New Mosul neighborhood. The factory had 150 kilograms of ammonium nitrate used in the VBIEDs in Mosul, the ministry added.
Captured in July after the fall of Mosul, the three women are awaiting trial. On Sunday, a German jihadist was sentenced to death in Iraq. Three French women are being held in Iraq for joining the Islamic State group. They are currently awaiting trial, in a country where they risk the death penalty. The first, aged 28 from the Lille region, left in the Syrian-Iraqi zone in 2015 with her husband, who was reportedly killed. The second woman, Melina, 27, from Seine-et-Marne left France in 2015. “We do not know what exactly he is accused of, what are his conditions of detention and if he has the means to defend himself”, said his lawyer Martin Pradel. “We expect from France, if Melina was to be sentenced to death, the same intensity of mobilization that it has deployed or deploys for other French sentenced to death, including Serge Atlaoui”, said his lawyers William Bourdon and Vincent Brengarth. The French authorities have made intensive diplomatic efforts to prevent the execution of Serge Atlaoui, who was sentenced to death in Indonesia where he is accused of drug trafficking.
Speaking to BasNews website, Col. Falah Aref, an officer from the Joint Operations Command, announced that Iraqi troops are preparing to invade Hawija village, a village in south of Mosul between Qayyarah and Hammam al-Alil towns, into which tens of Islamic State militants infiltrated. “Joint troops of army and police as well as Rapid Response forces are getting ready to invade Hawija village, which has wide areas of forests, helping militants to hide there”, he added. Col. Aref said that the invasion will be backed by Iraqi fighter jets, after evacuating the residents through safe passageways, adding that “The presence of IS members in the village endangers security of the south of Mosul”. In July, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi declared victory over IS militants who had held the second largest Iraqi city since 2014. More than 25,000 Islamic State militants were killed throughout the campaign. Last month, Abadi announced full recapture of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.
MOSUL – On Wednesday, police officer Eyad Ramzy from Nineveh announced to al-Sabah, a semi-official newspaper, that the Iraqi security troops arrested the last Islamic State governor with his two brothers in Mosul city: “Saleb al-Eslahi and his two brothers, Ahmed and Suleiman, were nabbed at a village in Mosul with fake IDs in their possession”, as he said. The trio was referred to the authorities concerned for interrogation. Ramzy also added that the forces found huge amounts of explosive materials and weapons belonging to IS militants buried under the ground at Ayn al-Jahesh village in Mosul. “The explosive materials were estimated at 90 tons”, as he said. On Tuesday, a curfew was imposed in four districts in Mosul city in search of criminals. Despite the declaration of the victory over the Islamic State in Mosul, the group’s former bastion in Iraq, observers assume that the IS militants constitute a security threat even if they have been defeated at their main havens across Iraqi provinces. Police forces launched a manhunt for criminals, who are wanted on terror charges and also the Iraqi Air Forces are taking part in the security campaign.
On Tuesday Baghdad Today quoted Emad al-Bayati, head of the army’s Nineveh Operations’ media, announcing that Iraqi border security troops engaged with the Islamic State militants at Yaaribi border area with Syria, killed seven of them and arrested five others after setting up an ambush in Northwest of Mosul. He also added that the troops seized the militants’ weapons and took the arrested ones for interrogation. Since early July, Iraqi security forces have launched efforts to clear the city of Mosul from dormant IS cells and occasionally sustained attacks from militants, arresting others among refugees. Indeed, Mosul was the birthplace of “Caliphate”, the Islamic State’s self-styled, founded by the group’s founder, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared its establishment in a famous sermon from Mosul’s Grand Nuri Mosque. Since then, Iraqi army backed by a U.S.-led coalition, took over Mosul from Islamic State militants ending more than eight months of operations. The war against IS has so far displaced at least five million people. Iraq forces are currently working on seizing back the group’s last haven in Iraq: the Western city of Anbar Rawa on the borders with Syria.
More than 12000 refugees have returned to their home regions in Mosul over the past week, an Iraqi government official said Tuesday, more than two months after operations against Islamic State militants ended in the city. Jawan Mahmoud, an official in charge of Kurdistan Region provinces in the Migration and Displacement Ministry, said in a statement that 12.553 refugees left camps in eastern and western Nineveh as well as Dahuk to their home regions in Mosul. Buses from the transport ministry and others run by the Iraqi Joint Operations Command helped carry the refugees and their luggage, according to Mahmoud.
Iraqi security forces have freed most of northern Iraq from the grip of the Islamic State. But U.S. and Iraqi officials warn that thousands of militants remain in the country and are ready to wage a ferocious fight in a desert region bordering Syria. The bulk of the war against the Islamic State was finished when Iraqi security forces reclaimed the cities of Mosul and Tal Afar this summer. But the battle looming in western Anbar province is expected to be one of the most complex to date. The vast region will be difficult to surround, and clearing it will probably involve coordination among the U.S.-backed forces and the Syrian regime, Russia and Iran. U.S. officials also believe that the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, is hiding there. Iraqi forces retook Tal Afar in just eight days, but officials say that was an anomaly and not a new rule. Shiite militias encircled the city for eight months while U.S.-led airstrikes pounded weapons facilities and targeted groups of fighters and their commanders before the ground operation began late last month.
Eight Islamic State members and a tribal fighter were killed in clashes between the militant group and security forces in southeast of Mosul, a military source said. Speaking to Anadolu news agency, Col. Ahmed al- Jabouri, of the army’s Nineveh Operations Command, said, “Clashes broke out between IS and the Tribal Mobilization Forces in al-Adla village, located in Nimrud, southeast of Mosul, for more than two hours”. Eight of the militants, according to Jabouri, and a member of the pro-government tribal forces were killed, while another member was wounded. Meanwhile, Shafaq News quoted security sources as saying that army troops repulsed an IS attack in al-Tamarat region in west of Mosul, killing six of the attackers. The same sources also said two other militants were killed by security personnel near Nimrud as they tried to escape via Tigris River toward Hammam al-Alil.
More than 2,000 bodies of civilians were recovered since liberation of Mosul city, an Iraqi officer said on Friday. “Rescue teams of Nineveh’s civil defense department have recovered more than 2,100 bodies of civilians from under the destroyed houses in the western side of Mosul, especially in the Old City”, Lt. Saad Hamed, an officer from the department, told Anadolu Agency. The teams, according to Hamed, “face obstacles including logistic ones related to the equipments, as well as security issues regarding presence of tunnels and shelters where IS militants are still hiding”. The recovery of bodies is expected to end in two months, Hamed said adding that between 400-500 bodies are likely to be still under the rubble, depending on the requests from families who inquire about bodies of their relatives.
Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Hossein Baqeri underlined that his forces are cooperating with the regional countries in the fight against the terrorist groups despite the opposition and obstacles imposed by the US. “Despite all plots and schemes by the enemies, specially the US, which are hatched and implemented everyday, the Armed Forces are successfully conducting their mission to safeguard the country’s security and help fight against terrorism in neighboring countries”, General Baqeri said, addressing a forum in Tehran on Monday. He added that the Syrian and Iraq armies and their allies’ victories against terrorist groups in Aleppo and Mosul are inspired by the Iranian forces’ holy defense during the imposed war (1980-1988) which was supported by the western powers.