Tikrit (IraqiNews.com) Paramilitary forces killed four Islamic State militants after foiling an attack on a village north of Tikrit, Iraqi military media said Wednesday.
The Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Units) killed four IS members, including a suicide bomber, after an attempted attack on Sheikh Ali village, north of Tikrit, Salahuddin province.
A statement by al-Hashd’s media service said its forces had staged a preemptive offensive at the nearby al-Zawia region, deactivating a booby-trapped car and damaging another armored vehicle belonging to the group.
Islamic State had stepped up attacks against civilians and security members over the past months since Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and PMUs, launched a major offensive to retake the city of Mosul, IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq.
Salahuddin province has witnessed occasional attacks by IS against civilians and security. A violent suicide attack in Tikrit earlier this month left at least 35 civilians and security personnel dead.
The Iraqi Joint Operations Command says IS militants are currently controlling only less than seven percent of Iraqi territory. The Iraqi government is expected to aim at IS pockets in Salahuddin, Kirkuk and Anbar once finished with the operation in Mosul.