Senior Iraqi commander killed by ISIS in Salahaddin province
ERBIL, Kurdistan region – A senior Iraqi Counter Terrorism Forces (ICTS) commander was killed during a clash with Islamic State (ISIS) militants in the Makhoul mountain range on Friday, according to the agency.
“Colonel Hisham Muhammad, commander of the ICTS Salahaddin Regiment, the Second Special Operations Command of the ICTS, received the honor of martyrdom [was killed] this morning while chasing remnants of ISIS terrorists in the Makhoul Mountains,” a statement from the agency by its head Lt. Gen. Abdul Wahab al-Saadi published Friday reads.
The Makhoul mountains in Salahaddin province, alongside other nearby mountain ranges, are known hideouts for ISIS militants. The terrorist group has not claimed responsibility for the killing of the ICTS commander yet.
At the height of its power between 2014 and 2016, ISIS controlled an area roughly the size of Great Britain, spread across both Iraq and Syria.
Although Baghdad announced the territorial defeat of ISIS in Iraq in December 2017, remnants of the group have returned to their earlier insurgency tactics, ambushing security forces, kidnapping and executing suspected informants, and extorting money from vulnerable rural populations, particularly in the disputed territories.
ISIS insurgent activities have increased in recent weeks.
The extremist group killed the commander of the 59th Brigade of the Iraqi army, Brigadier General Ali Hameed Ghaydan, after militants attacked his convoy in the Ibn Sena region in al-Tarmia district, north of the capital city of Baghdad.
ISIS also claimed responsibility for the killing of General Brigadier Ahmed al-Lami, commander of 7th division of the 29th brigade of the Iraqi army in an ambush in Anbar on Wednesday.
On May 15, two soldiers were killed and four wounded when a convoy hit an improvised explosive device (IED) in northern Baghdad province. ISIS later claimed responsibility for the blast.
May was an especially deadly month. Ten Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF, or Hashd al Shaabi in Arabic) fighters were killed in a five-pronged assault in Salahaddin on May 2. On the same day, militants killed three federal police officers and wounded two others in an attack on Zaghniya police station in Diyala province.
ISIS claimed in its weekly propaganda newspaper al-Naba on Thursday that its militants had carried out 20 attacks in Iraq between August 13 and 19 alone – half of it in Diyala province.