Six IS leaders killed in airstrikes southwest of Kirkuk

Dead bodies of Islamic State militants (representational photo)

Kirkuk ( Airstrikes killed six Islamic State leaders southwest of Kirkuk on Friday, according to Kurdish military sources.

The six members were killed when an airstrike targeted their gathering on an IS-held road between al-Riyadh and al-Khaled regions west of Kirkuk, military sources within Peshmerga troops were quoted saying.

Iraqi government forces have been backed by fighter jets from the U.S.-led international military coalition in its campaign running since 2014 to clear Iraqi cities from Islamic State militants.

IS has been holding a few strongholds in southwestern Kirkuk since it emerged in 2014 to proclaim an “Islamic Caliphate”. IS has been losing personnel and ground since a campaign launched in October to retake areas held by the group, most notably the city of Mosul, its largest bastion in Iraq.

The Iraqi government, once finished with its campaign in Mosul, is expected to launch further offensives at other areas held by IS, including Kirkuk.

IS has executed hundreds of civilians in Kirkuk’s town of Hawija over accusations ranging from fleeing its strongholds and collaborating with security forces.

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