Shirqat – Four Islamic State militants were killed when government and tribal forces repelled an attack by the group on villages in Salahuddin province, an official said on Wednesday.
Ali al-Dawdah, mayor of Shirqat (55 Km north of Salahuddin), was quoted by Alsumaria News saying that the militants sneaked into the western side of the town to the villages of Khadraniya, Houriya and al-Suwaidan.
Dawdah said four attackers, two pro-government tribal fighters and one civilian were killed in the turmoil. Army warplanes intervened and bombarded the attackers’ locations, he noted.
Islamic State militants have been in control over the eastern side of Shirqat since 2014, when they took over a third of Iraq and Syria. The group has recently stepped up attacks across Iraqi provinces, and an increasing activity on the group’s behalf has been detected at Salahuddin’s borders with neighboring provinces.
The Iraqi government, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary forces, is expected to move towards clearing IS pockets across Iraq once its eight-month-old campaign against the group in Mosul, the militants’ largest stronghold in Iraq, finishes. The fall of Mosul could mean a collapse of the group’s self-styled “Islamic Caliphate” declared in 2014.