Iraqi defense ministry denies targeting Islamic State hideout in Kirkuk

Jet fighters

Baghdad ( – The Iraqi Defense Ministry denied on Saturday media reports that its warplanes targeted an Islamic State position in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.

In a press statement, a copy of which was obtained by Alghad Press, the ministry denied that its F16 jet fighters raided a hideout of nine Islamic State terrorists in Wadi Abul Khanager area between al-Riyad and al-Rashad districts in Kirkuk.

“All reports circulated in this regard are baseless,” the statement read.

Kirkuk officials previously urged reinforcing military troops in the south and west of the province, as the region still has Islamic State members who escaped during the liberation of Hawija to remote areas.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

The jihadist group had seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq in 2014, when it proclaimed a “caliphate” and imposed its rule over some 10 million people.

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