The Iraqi air force carried out a series of airstrikes on Wednesday, targeting positions held by sleeper cells of the so-called Islamic State in Salahuddin province, a statement from the Iraqi military communications center said.
The operation came in coordination with the Salahuddin Operations Command, seeking out members of the terrorist organization hiding in the inhospitable areas of al-Shai Valley in rural Salahuddin, according to the Security Media Cell (SMC).
Two separate airstrikes killed six alleged terrorists, an SMC statement said. The attacks also totaled a vehicle and destroyed a tunnel the group used as a hideout. SMC also reported that one officer had been injured during the operation.
Shai Valley is comprised of rugged, barren terrain that has been a haven for Islamic State sleeper cells who use it as a base from where they can plan and launch attacks in surrounding settlements and towns.
The Iraqi operation comes amid ongoing US-Iran tensions in the region as the terror group took advantage of an escalating situation that raised fears of an all-out war to carry out a series of attacks and continues to attempt to re-establish a foothold in Iraq.
On Tuesday, local security forces arrested a “prominent terrorist” in southern Nineveh. This came as an alleged Islamic State attack at a border checkpoint between Iraq and Syria reportedly wounded four officers.