Kirkuk (Iraqinews.com) – Paramilitary troops killed on Tuesday a senior religious leader in Islamic State group near a Kirkuk village, the troops’ spokesman was quoted as saying.
Speaking to Alsumaria News, spokesman for the Popular Mobilization Forces’ northern axis Ali al-Hussieni said, “The PMF’s 16th brigade killed the so-called Islamic State mufti of Kirkuk and three of his companions during a military operation near a village at Daquq district in southern Kirkuk.”
The slain IS leader was identified as Abdul Qader al-Azzi.
Husseini added that the troops are keen on tracking down Islamic State remnants in Hawija and its surroundings.
Kirkuk officials previously urged reinforcing military troops in the south and west of the province, as the region still has IS members who escaped during liberation of Hawija to remote areas.
In October, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared that Iraqi troops recaptured Hawija, a main town held by Islamic State in the country. Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State occupied in 2014.
The town fell 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.