Iraqi forces begin manhunt inside ISIS pockets of Anbar

Civilians celebrate with Iraqi army soldiers after returning to their homes in the town of Hit in Anbar province, Iraq October 10, 2016. Picture taken October 10 2016.

:: The Iraqi joint forces announced on Monday the start of a military operation in the western province of Anbar to search for ISIS pockets, which are posing security threats despite the country’s army declaring their mission to liberate the northern city of Mosul as complete.

The Iraqi War Media Cell said in a statement that the areas to be searched include Al-Taba’i, Bani Zayed, al-Kasrat east of Anbar, which are close to the western belt of the capital Baghdad.

South of the international highway, which connects Baghdad, the Syrian capital Amman and Jordan’s capital Damascus, Thameel and Wadi al-Qathif areas are searched as well. Other areas – east of Al-Qadisiya Lake near al-Haditha district – are also being combed.

The War Media Cell said that the results of the military operation will be communicated later.

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi has ordered the Iraqi joint forces to go after ISIS pockets in the desert areas, which are being used by the militant group to target Iraqi forces and their presence in the key international highway in Anbar.

Abadi also issued his order after the recent suicide bombings that killed more than 50 people in two incidents which targeted Baghdad and the southern province of Basra.

ISIS attack on training camp

Also, ISIS on Monday has claimed responsibility for an attack on a military training center in Diyala north of Baghdad that killed at least four soldiers and wounded four others, including two officers, the Associated Press reported a statement released by the group and two Iraqi officers as saying.

Six attackers struck the base, according to the Iraqi officers. The ISIS statement put the number of attackers at four and said “dozens” were killed and wounded. The Iraqi officers said five attackers detonated suicide vests once inside the center and by afternoon the situation was “under control,” but five Iraqi military vehicles were torched by the blasts.

The officers spoke on condition of anonymity in line with regulations.

ISIS has carried out a number of similar attacks targeting military facilities since the operation to retake the Iraqi city of Mosul was launched in October. Iraqi forces are closing in on the last ISIS held neighborhoods in western Mosul after the city’s east was declared liberated in January. ISIS overran almost a third of Iraqi territory in 2014.

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