The Iraqi Defense Ministry confirmed that ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi’s top aide was hunted down in Eastern Iraq.
“Heshem Nasif Jassem al-Hayali alongside a number of his forces were killed in well planned operations of the Iraqi Army troops in al-Makheiseh in Abu Seida region,” the ministry said in a statement.
Also on Thursday, local police command in Iraq’s Diyala Province announced that the security forces arrested seven suspected terrorist in an operation in Southwest of Baqubah.
“Based on accurate intelligence information, security forces arrested seven terrorists in Beni Saeed area, 20 km Southwest of Baquba,” Diyala police Spokesperson Colonel Ghalib al-Attiyah in a statement said.
“The arrested terrorists participated in several attacks, including Husseiniyat Beni Saad bombing, recent bombing in Civil Status Directorate among others” Attiyah said.
The news about the arrest of terrorists in Diyala came as recent reports suggest ISIL terrorists, mostly with shaved off faces, started fleeing Huweija region as Iraqi soldiers and popular forces ready to launch the final phase of Mosul liberation operation in Northern Nineveh.
“The time table of the Iraqi Armed Forces and announcing a final date for the liberation of Mosul on one hand, and the government forces’ eye-catching victories in Northern Salahuddin and Southeastern Nineveh on the other hand, have caused the ISIL terrorists to shave off their beard and flee the battlefields to find safer shelters,” the sources said.
“Iraqi armed forces have dispatched a large volume of army and mainly Russian-made ammunition to Huweija to reinvigorate this front,” the sources said, adding, “Iraqi warplanes have launched several combat flights over ISIL’s positons to pave the ground for easier advances of the ground troops in Huweija battlefield.”