Hawija (IraqiNews.com) Islamic State has arrested six of its Kurdish members, including a leader, in southwest of Kirkuk, a paramilitary official said on Thursday.
“IS arrested six members of the group’s so-called Halabja group, including a leader,” Jabbar al-Maamouri, a leader of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), told AlSumaria News on Thursday. “All of the members were Kurdish ones who took part in several attacks in Kirkuk over the past months,” he added.
“The arrests took place in the aftermath of clashes between Halabja group and IS militants on the boundaries of Hawija,” Maamouri said, “the reasons behind the clashes are unknown yet, however, the conflicts among the militants are clearly ongoing.”
Hawija and other neighboring regions, west of Kirkuk, have been held by IS since mid-2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. The group executed dozens of civilians and security members there, forcing thousands to flee homes.
Further reinforcements from the Federal Police were sent earlier this month from Baghdad to the town, as the military command declared, late August, the end of operations in Tal Afar, the militants’ last haven west of Nineveh, and the approach of the launch of offensives for Hawija.
Spokesperson of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command Yehia Rasool said, last week, there were 2000 IS militants inside Hawija.