Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi army fighter jets and paramilitary troops killed 36 Islamic State militants in a new offensive targeting the group’s havens near Nineveh’s borders with Syria.
Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) said through its media that army jets killed 27 militants and destroyed three vehicles belonging to them at al-Qayrawan region. It added that ground forces also killed six militants at the village of Um al-Shababit, one of four villages recaptured by the troops earlier on Friday.
PMU said through its media earlier on Friday it launched an offensive on al-Baaj and Qayrawan regions, backed by the army air force. The regions fall west to Mosul, Islamic State’s largest urban stronghold in Iraq which Iraqi commanders have said they predict to recapture this month.
The targeted regions also fall west of Tal Afar, another IS bastion. Occasional clashing statements from the Iraqi government and al-Hashd leaderships emerged regarding al-Hashd’s possible involvement in anticipated operations for Tal Afar. While PMUs said they were ready for the battle, Iraqi officials reassured that the Shia-led troops were not going to take part in offensives targeting the mainly Sunni and Turkmen town.
As the offensive began on Fiday, PMU media said its troops engaged in fierce encounters with IS militants as they invaded Um al-Shababit village, north of Qayrawan, and were close to proceeding towards al-Hayyat, a neighboring village.