Anbar (Iraqinews.com) – Four fighters of Saraya Al-Salam militias affiliated with Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr were killed Monday in clashes with Islamic State militants in Salahuddin province, a security source was quoted as saying.
“Fierce clashes erupted between Sadr’s Saraya Al-Salam and Islamic State in the Samarra island in Salahuddin province, leaving four pro-Sadr fighters dead,” the source told Alghad Press without giving further details.
Last December, Sadr ordered his fighters to hand state-issued weapons back to the government following the country’s defeat of the Islamic State group.
Sadr’s Saraya al-Salam fighters took up arms against the extremist group in 2014 after the fall of Mosul and are officially part of the government-sanctioned Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), also known as al-Hashd al-Shaabi.
Sadr called on his fighters to also hand over parts of the territory they control to Iraq’s security forces, however, he stressed that his fighters would remain present as protectors of a holy Shiite shrine in Samarra, north of Baghdad.
IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by the US-led international coalition, 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.