Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) An airstrike by warplanes from the United States-led coalition killed 15 Islamic State members in Kirkuk on Saturday, a security source said.
The source told Dijlah TV that the strike targeted group locations in al-Dabas region, 55 Km northwest of the province.
Seven militants were also wounded in the raid, according to the source.
He said coalition jets escalated raids recently after the command had detected an increase in militants’ activity in al-Rashad and Daqouq regions, south of the province.
Islamic State has held a few havens in southwestern Kirkuk, most notably the town of Hawija, since 2014, when the group proclaimed an “Islamic caliphate” on a third of Iraq and Syria. The group had reportedly relocated commands of areas lost to security forces to Kirkuk, with some sources previously quoted saying it became the group’s new capital.
The Iraqi government declared victory over Islamic State militants in Mosul, the group’s former capital in Iraq, last month, and said it was going to proceed towards other group holdouts, including Kirkuk.
The group lost more than 25.000 members in military operations since their launch in October, according to Iraqi generals. A few thousands are thought to remain in Kirkuk, Anbar, Salahuddin and Tal Afar.
Armed conflicts in Iraq killed and wounded more than 500 during July, according to a monthly count by the United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI).