21 IS members killed, 20 villages liberated in operations to clear desert: PMFs

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi forces.

Baghdad ( The leadership of the pro-government paramilitary troops have issued a statement on accomplishments made on the second day of operations to clear al-Jazeera region, which falls between each of Nineveh, Salahuddin and Anbar, the media service said.

“Al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), along with the army and Federal Police units, backed by the army jets, resumed the second day of operations to liberate the desert between each of Salahuddin, Anbar and Mosul, reaching to Iraqi-Syrian borders,” the statement said.

Twenty-one Islamic State members, including Arab and foreign militants, were killed, while twenty villages were liberated, it said.

Troops managed to gain control on headquarters of the group’s leadership in the depth of the desert as well as a booby-trapping workshop.

Earlier on the day, the mobilization forces’ media said IS members escaped their locations toward the desert depth of desert in Mosul, Salahuddin and Anbar.

PMF media said Thursday the forces had cleared 55 villages in al-Jazirah.

The Upper Euphrates and al-Jazeera Combing Operations, previously announced that“army and al-Hashd al-Shaabi [Popular Mobilization Forces] started a wide-scale operation to liberate al-Jazeera regions located between Salahuddin, Nineveh and Anbar.”

Joint troops had managed to free several residential areas in Anbar, Salahuddin, Diyala and Kirkuk from Islamic State, which urged the militants to escape toward Al-Jazeera regions in those provinces.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said during his weekly press briefing on Tuesday that his country has defeated Islamic State over the military level, but will declare final victory after desert areas are purged of militants.

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