UPDATED: Two Islamic State bodies found during Diyala military operation

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Diyala ( – Two corpses of Islamic State militants were found Monday during a military operation at Hawi al-Azim area in northern Diyala, a military commander was quoted as saying.

Speaking to Alghad Press on Monday, Commander of Tigris Operations Lieutenant General Mazhar al-Ezzawi said, “Security forces found two bodies of Islamic State militants and dismantled a bomb during a military operation in the western parts of Hawi al-Azim area north of Diyala.”

“The final tally of casualties will be announced later,” he added.

Earlier in the day, Ezzawi said a wide-scale military operation was launched to track down Islamic State militants at Hawi al-Azim area in Diyala.

“Backed by Iraqi warplanes, joint troops from the Iraqi army, police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) launched the operation to track down Islamic State cells in the western parts of Hawi al-Azim area,” Ezzawi pointed out.

“The military operation was launched upon intelligence reports with the aim of cleansing Hawi al-Azim area of Islamic State cells and hideouts and restoring Diyala’s security and stability,” Ezzawi 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.

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

A government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led international coalition, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens.

Last month, Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

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