Three Islamic State militants apprehended in northeastern Iraq

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 militants were arrested Sunday in the northeastern Iraqi province of Diyala for killing seven people a month ago, a well-placed provincial official was quoted as saying.

“The 5th division of the Iraqi army, in cooperation with military intelligence, managed to arrest one of the most dangerous terrorist cells in Buhriz district, 10km south of Baqubah,” Sadeq al-Husseini, the head of the Security Committee in Diyala Provincial Council, told the Arabic-language Baghdad Today news website.

“The three-strong cell was implicated in killing seven civilians on the tourist highway in Diyala a month ago,” al-Husseini added.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary forces, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

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