Anbar (IraqiNews.com) Military operations in western Anbar have killed 28 Islamic State militants over the past two days, an army commander in the province said on Saturday.
Qassem al-Mohammadi, commander of the army’s Al-Jazeera Operations, said that security forces killed 20 IS militants in Baiji, including a senior Saudi commander, during a security search last Thursday. Five booby-trapped vehicles were also destroyed in the operation, he added.
Iraqi army and coalition fighter jets also killed eight other militants in the town of Rawa.
IS still maintain hideouts in western Anbar, most notably at the towns of Annah and Rawa, using them as launching points for attacks against security and civilians. Iraqi and coalition fighter jets occasionally bomb the group’s locations there.
Violence surged across Iraq when Islamic State militants occupied several cities in 2014 to establish their so-called “Islamic Caliphate”. In November, the United Nations in Iraq counted at least 58000 deaths since the emergence of IS in 2014 and until September. It said said early December that violence during November claimed the lives of 926 civilians and wounded 930 people.
Iraqi government forces and popular militia, backed by fighter jets from a US-led international coalition, are currently leading a campaign to drive the extremist group out of Mosul, its last major stronghold in Iraq. But observers believe almost-daily attacks in provinces other than Mosul against civilians and security are aimed at diverting security focus from the Mosul battle and to cover up for the group’s defeats.