Iraqi security forces have launched an operation to hunt down the Islamic State (IS) militants in the western part of the country, the Iraqi military said.
The Iraqi army, border guards, and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi forces, backed by Iraqi aircraft, carried out the operation early Saturday morning with the aim of clearing IS hideouts in the vast desert areas in western part of the country, according to a statement by the media office of the Iraqi Joint Operations Command.
The Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi, also Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi forces, arrived at the headquarters of the Border Guard forces in Anbar province, and met with military commanders who briefed him on the operations, said the statement.
“You (IS) have no choice but to die, and we will not rest until we crush you,” al-Kadhimi was quoted as saying during the meeting, Xinhua news agency reported.
Based on the intelligence reports, airborne forces carried out raids on specific targets, and set up ambushes for the IS militants deep in the desert, the statement said.
The operation came as other Iraqi forces are carrying out separate operations against the IS hideouts in the provinces of Diyala, Salahudin, and Kirkuk, the statement added.
The security situation in Iraq has been improving since the Iraqi forces defeated the IS in 2017. However, IS remnants have since spread into urban centres, deserts and rugged areas, carrying out frequent guerilla attacks against security forces and civilians.