Salahuddin (IraqiNews.com) Two-hundred Islamic State militants were killed as officials in Salahuddin province said Friday they launched a “preemptive” offensive against the group.
The province’s statement said the offensive was codenamed “Revenge for the Martyrs of Iraq and Salahuddin”.
Salahuddin has witnessed an escalation in IS attacks on deployments by Iraqi government forces and allied paramilitary troops al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units).
PMUs said Thursday they killed 14 IS members after an attempted attack on the city of Baiji, north of the province. The news came hours after six suicide bombers from the group were reportedly killed before carrying out an attack at the city.
On Wednesday, a violent attack by the Islamic State on Salahuddin’s city of Tikrit left 31 dead, including 14 policemen.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq says 1115 people, excluding security members, were killed and wounded in violence across Iraq during March.
Islamic State has stepped up attacks against civilians, security forces and allied paramilitary troops across Iraq since Iraqi government troops, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, launched an offensive in October to retake the city of Mosul, IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq. Observers say the attacks outside Mosul seek to make up for losses the group has sustained there.