ISIS raid in Iraq kills two pro-Iran fighters

ISIS raid in Iraq kills two pro-Iran fighters

BAGHDAD (AFP): Two fighters from Iraq’s Hashed al-Shaabi alliance have been killed in an attack claimed by ISIS, the pro-Iranian Hashed and an Iraqi security source said Sunday.

The two fighters “succumbed after having been wounded while they were confronting an attack” by ISIS in Salaheddin province north of Baghdad, the Hashed said in a statement reported by the official INA news agency.

A security source, who requested anonymity, confirmed the death toll to AFP and said that ISIS attacked a Hashed “[military] post on Saturday night” in the area of al-Zarka in the province’s north.

The Hashed al-Shaabi is a coalition of mainly pro-Iranian former paramilitary units now integrated into the Iraqi armed forces, whose fighters have been heavily involved in the fight against ISIS.

ISIS claimed the attack in a statement published on the group’s Telegram channels, saying two Hashed members had been killed and three others wounded.

Hours after the attack, the government’s media unit for security affairs said the army had bombarded ISIS “hideouts” in adjacent Diyala province, killing five ISIS fighters.

ISIS terrorists seized swathes of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” which they ruled with brutality before their defeat in late 2017 by Iraqi forces backed by a US-led military coalition.

However, extremist cells still stage sporadic attacks on the army and police, especially in rural and remote areas.

A United Nations report published in July said ISIS has “between 5,000 and 7,000 members across Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, most of whom are fighters.”