Iraqi army choppers have killed at least 170 members of the Daesh terrorist group in a series of airstrikes launched in the country’s northern Salahuddin province.
“The Iraqi army’s helicopter gunships, in coordination with Salahuddin’s Operations Command (SOC), carried out effective airstrikes on Daesh terrorist gangs in Tasnei’ Askari area in southwest of Shirqat, some 280 km north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad, leaving a total of 170 terrorists killed,” said a statement released by the Iraqi defense ministry on Sunday.
During the strikes, some eight terrorist posts armed with heavy machine guns and around 13 vehicles were also destroyed.
Earlier in the day, Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, also thwarted an attempt by the terrorists to enter the province, killing a large number of them and destroying their weapons and equipment.
“Troops of the first brigade of al-Hashd al-Shaabi repulsed an attack by the Daesh in western Mosul,” said a military statement. “The enemy tried to sneak into the Iraq-Syrian borders before the fighters of the first brigade faced them, causing heavy losses among them,” it added.
Hashd al-Sha’abi is a group of Shia and Sunni fighters that was formed after the emergence of the Takfiri Daesh terrorist group in Iraq in 2014. In the early days of Daesh’s terror campaign, the then-volunteer fighters played a major role in reinforcing the Iraqi army, which had suffered heavy setbacks in the face of lightning advances by the terrorists.
Last November, the Iraqi parliament recognized Hashd al-Sha’abi as an official force with similar rights as those of the regular army.
The Hashd al-Sha’abi forces are now actively cooperating with Iraqi forces in operations to rid the whole country of Daesh elements.