Paramilitary troops kill 10 Islamic State militants in Kirkuk

Iraqi troops drive armored vehicles during a military operation in Iraq

Kirkuk ( – Ten Islamic State (IS) militants were killed Wednesday in a security operation to eliminate terrorism in the oil-rich Kirkuk province, a pro-government force said.

In a statement, released by Baghdad Today, the media service of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said, “troops of the PMF’s 11th brigade and intelligence officers carried out a security operation to hunt for Islamic State militants at Khirbet Aziz village in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk.”

“The troops killed 10 IS militants in the operation,” according to the statement, adding that the manhunt operation will go on as scheduled to eliminate the remaining IS cells across Kirkuk.

In October, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that Iraqi troops recaptured Hawija, a main town held by Islamic State in the country.

The town had fallen to IS in June 2014, when the militant group seized control of much of northern and western Iraq and proclaimed the creation of a self-styled “caliphate”.

There, Islamic State’s reign forced thousands to flee to refugee camps, while hundreds had been executed by the group for attempting to escape the area or contacting security forces.

Despite the victory over IS in the city, observers say IS is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.

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