The Iraqi army is reportedly combing through the expansive western Anbar Province for possible pockets of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group, which the country defeated territorially last December.
Kurdish Rudaw television network reported on Saturday that the Iraqi army was carrying out an inclusive operation covering Anbar’s desert areas right up to the province’s border with Saudi Arabia to hunt down any remaining Daesh terrorists.
It cited Mahmood Falahi, the commander of Anbar Operations Command, as saying that the operation had started earlier in the day.
Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the group on December 9, 2017 after the army and its allies retook the last urban areas in western Iraq from the Takfiri militants. Ever since, the army has been rooting out small Daesh cells in Anbar and in the vicinity of the north-central Iraqi Saladin Province.
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Meanwhile, Iraq’s Joint Operations Command said that the forces were conducting an operation based on “accurate intelligence about the presence of a terrorist leader, Karim Afat Ali al-Samirmd, in one of houses in [Anbar’s] al-Baghdadi District to meet with a terrorist cell.”
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks. A United States-led coalition started a campaign of aerial bombing against purported Daesh targets the same year. As the coalition made little progress, the Iraqi army and its allied forces retook territory during fighting on the ground.—Agencies