By Ali Jawad and Hussein al-Amir
BAGHDAD (AA) – Nine members of the self-proclaimed Daesh terrorist organization were killed and another nine were arrested during recent military operations launched Saturday in Iraqi desert areas, military sources on Sunday told Anadolu Agency.
“A joint force carried out a wide-ranging military operation backed by Iraqi army aircraft, targeting sites in which elements of the Daesh organization [are present] in the areas of Hawija al-Zainia in the north of the Saladin province,” Saad Mohamed, army captain of the Saladin Operations command told Anadolu Agency.
The military operation, he added, left six Daesh members killed, pointing out that the military operation was ongoing.
In addition, Iraqi military forces have killed three Daesh members and arrested nine others during an operation in the eastern Tal Afar district, Army First Lt. Jassem Eidan told Anadolu Agency.
In the Anbar province, security forces destroyed a camp al-Sheikin in western Anbar’s Rutba district, the Iraqi Defense Ministry announced in a statement.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry on Saturday announced the start of a wide-ranging military operation aiming to clear desert regions in the provinces of Anbar (west), Saladin and Nineveh (north) of remaining Daesh elements.
The operation declared Saturday is the first of its kind carried out in the desert in these three Iraqi provinces since the Iraqi government announced defeating the self-proclaimed Daesh terrorist organization late last year.
Last December, officials in Baghdad declared that Daesh's military presence in Iraq had been all but dismantled following operations backed by the U.S.-led International Alliance.
However, from time to time, Iraqi officials announce operations against Daesh-affiliated "sleeper cells" in certain parts of the country.