Salah Al-Din

Suspected ISIS attack on Iraqi forces kills officer, four soldiers

SALAH AL-DIN – An army officer and four soldiers were killed in an attack on their post in Iraq’s central province of Salah Al-Din on Monday night, officials said.

Iraq’s Ministry of Defense reported that Lt. Col. Khaled Naji and several members of his regiment were killed “while thwarting a terrorist attack.”

“Daesh terrorists launched an attack on an army post in Asbaiyat village, located in the plains between Diyala and Salah Al-Din governorates, killing four soldiers and the regiment commander,” said a security source, using an alternate name for the Islamic State group.

ISIS has not yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

The fighters also targeted a Popular Mobilization Forces position.

Speaking to 964media, Ali Husseini, spokesperson for the PMF’s Northern Axis, said that ISIS militants attacked two military outposts, starting with the 21st Division, 93rd Brigade of the Iraqi Army.

According to him, the confrontation lasted about an hour. Subsequently, the fighters attacked PMF forces near the Mutibija area in Salah Al-Din, with clashes continuing into the night.

“The extent of casualties among the PMF and ISIS has not been confirmed, and the situation remains unstable,” Husseini stated.

The jihadist group overran large areas of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014, proclaiming a “caliphate” and launching a reign of terror.

It was defeated in Iraq in 2017 by Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led military coalition, and in 2019 lost its last territory in Syria to U.S.-backed Kurdish forces.

However, its remnants continue to carry out deadly hit-and-run attacks and ambushes, particularly from remote areas and desert hideouts.

In a report published in January, the United Nations estimated that ISIS has “between 3,000 and 5,000 fighters” across Iraq and Syria.

Most recently, on April 16, in a coordinated 10-hour operation involving Peshmerga forces and the Iraqi Army, five ISIS fighters were killed near Salah Al-Din’s Tuz Khurmatu district.

Hama Chawri, deputy commander of the Peshmerga forces in the Khurmatu district, told 964media that “the militants killed included an ISIS commander and an ISIS Sharia official, along with three other fighters.”

Security forces also seized several weapons and ammunition during the raid. Chawri noted that a bomb exploded during the operation, striking a Kurdish Commando bulldozer and causing only material damage.

AFP contributed to this report