The Iraqi Counter Terrorism Service CTS & the Peshmerga have launched a joint military operation on Sunday to clear 200 square kilometers of the militant groups in Duz Khurmatu, south of Kirkuk.
The operation was launched at 3 am up to mid-day, east of Duz Khurmatu.
The multi-ethnic district of Duz Khurmatu, located 70 kilometers south of Kirkuk and part of Salahaddin province, is one of the disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad, home to 130,000 Turkmens, Kurds and Arabs.
Mid May, a three-day joint operation was launched by Iraqi army, federal police, rapid response troops and Shiite militants of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF covered south and southwest of Kirkuk.
Few days following the operation, a captain of federal police was killed by an IED in the village of Sek Darb of Daquq district, south of Kirkuk.
A Peshemrga commander took part in the operation said they have destroyed 23 hideouts of Daesh and a number of IEDs defused.
The villages of Balaga, Qori Chai, Gharra and Palkana were cleared.
“A factory for production of bombs was found in Qori Chai,” the Peshemrga commander said.
The operation follows agreement between Baghdad and Erbil to deployment of a number of joint centers of the Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the disputed territories in Kirkuk, Diyala and Nineveh in reaction to lately assaults by the militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria in Iraq.
Early May, three Peshmerga (Kurdish fighters) were killed and two were injured in an attack by ISIS militants in the sub-district of Altun Kopri (The Golden Bridge), northwest of Kirkuk. In Daquq, Daesh targeted two oil wells that takes a month to restore, officials said.
End of April, a suicide bomber was killed in Kirkuk trying to enter national security service, another arrested. The hunt for the three others is ongoing, a commander of National security in Kirkuk told KirkukNow.
A commander of the Iraqi forces anonymously told KirkukNow the operation was a success, targeting hideouts of Daesh in the region. “In general, we have cleaned 200 square kilometers.
Iraqi F16 warplanes target areas east of Duz Khurmatu district, south of Kirkuk, followed by Iraqi counter terrorism service CTS airdrop & joined by land units of the Peshmerga, a statement Security Media Cell SMC declared on Sunday.
“The joint operations will go on till the threats that Daesh pose come to end and stability is restored,” the Iraqi commander added.
The disputed territories between Erbil and Baghdad extend from Khanaqin in the east on the border with Iran to the oil rich city of Kirkuk heading to the west of Mosul in Shingal, home to Ezidi ethno-religious minority, on the border with Syria.
A joint force of the Iraqi army, local and federal police, Special Forces along with PMF are in charge of the security the disputed provinces under joint operations’ command, an umbrella for security forces.