BAGHDAD (Dispatches) – Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi on Monday announced the launch of an operation by the army and the popular Hashd Al-Sha’abi forces to hunt down Daesh terrorists in the north of the capital Baghdad.
Al-Kadhimi, also commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, made the announcement during his visit to the Tarmiyah area, some 30 kilometers north of Baghdad, where he met with military commanders and senior security officials to discuss the situation in the area, according to a statement by al-Kadhimi’s media office.
“I announce the launch of a security operation in cooperation with the people of Tarmiyah to eliminate sleeper cells in the area,” the statement quoted al-Kadhimi as saying.
The operation came three days after Daesh terrorists killed six Hashd Al-Sha’abi members and wounded four in bomb and gunfire attacks in the Tarmiyah area, according to a source with the Iraqi Interior Ministry.
In his announcement, al-Kadhimi expressed his expectation of avoiding tension after the attack, saying “we must all be alert of extremist voices who are looking for opportunities to create a social rift among Iraqis and create sectarian strife,” according to the statement.
“Combating terrorism is a collective responsibility that everyone must share, and I call on the people of Tarmiyah to cooperate and report any suspicious movement in the area,” al-Kadhimi said.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since Daesh terrorists were defeated in 2017. However, Daesh remnants have since melted into urban areas or deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent terrorist attacks against security forces and civilians.
The U.S. and its allies have been accused by the people and officials of aiding the terrorist groups and stoking the tensions.
In a recent development, U.S. troops stationed in Syria kidnapped a number of civilians and transported new consignments of stolen Syrian oil to Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region.
Syria’s official news agency SANA reported on Sunday that U.S. troops carried out an airdrop in the village of Jadeed Ekedat in the eastern countryside of Dayr al-Zawr, and took away a number of civilians to an unknown destination.
Earlier this month, U.S. forces conducted an airdrop in the village of Mahemeidah in the western countryside of Day al-Zawr. They kidnapped a civilian from the village after completely destroying his home on August 14.
Also on Sunday, U.S. troops allowed a convoy of 25 tanker trucks carrying stolen Syrian oil to cross the “illegitimate” al-Walid crossing into northern Iraq, SANA reported.
The news agency cited local sources as saying that the convoy headed from Rmelan town in Iraq’s semi-autonomous Kurdistan region on Saturday night.