On March 15, commander of the Kirkuk area’s operations in the Iraqi Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) Abu Husam al-Sahlani announced that the PMU and security forces had killed 80 fighters of ISIS in the northern province of Kirkuk in the ongoing security operation over the last 20 days.
According to the PMU media wing, al-Sahlani said that the PMU had captured many weapons and large amounts of explosives, which had been hidden by ISIS cells in different areas of the province. The PMU also removed many mines and IEDs, which had been planted by the terrorist organization, according to the report.
Iraqi sources said that the PMU and security forces had launched their security operation in the province of Kirkuk after it had witnessed an increase of ISIS attacks against civilians and government forces.
In a related development, the Russian state-run TV network RT reported that ISIS fighters had attacked a unit of the Iraqi Army while it had been carrying out a security operation southeast of the city of al-Rutbah in the western province of al-Anbar. A local source said that the army had lost 7 soldiers and had killed several members of ISIS.
ISIS cells stepped up its operations against government forces in the northern and western parts of Iraq last month. Local observers believe that the terrorist organization is trying to restore its influence in these parts of Iraq.