Three IS leaders killed in clashes with Iraqi security forces in Diyala

Paramilitary fighters and military vehicles are seen during a military operation to retake positions held by Islamic State militants, on the outskirts of Muqdadiyah in Diyala province, north of Baghdad January 25, 2015. Picture taken January 25, 2015. REUTERS

Diyala ( – Three Islamic State leaders were killed Tuesday during fierce clashes with Iraqi security forces in northeastern Tikrit, Diyala, a security committee said.

“Intelligence officers carried out a security operation in the depth of Hamrin Mountains, 75 km northeast of Baqubah, targeting a hotbed of Islamic State,” Baghdad Today website quoted head of Diya’s security committee Sadeq al-Husseini as saying.

“The clashes between the two sides left three leaders of the terrorist group dead and a policeman wounded,” al-Husseini added.

In January 2015, Iraqi forces announced liberation of Diyala province from Islamic State extremist militants who proclaimed an “Islamic Caliphate” in Iraq and Syria in 2014.

The province has seen months of fighting between Iraqi troops and IS militants especially in the Jalawla and Saadiyah areas in the province’s north and areas near the town of Muqdadiyah.

Last December, former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi declared final victory over the terrorist Islamic State group three years after the militant group captured about a third of Iraq’s territory.

Abadi’s announcement came two days after Russia announced a similar victory over Islamic State militants in neighboring Syria. Abadi declared Dec. 10 an annual national holiday on this occasion.

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