Iraqi Shi'ite paramilitary forces claim killing of provincial ISIL leader
A prominent leader of Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi forces (Popular Mobilization Forces) said Tuesday that the paramilitary troops killed the provincial leader of ISIL militant group in Iraq's eastern province of Diyala.
"The military leader of Daesh (ISIL) organization in Diyala, known as Abu Daha, was killed by our forces," Hadi al-Ameri, head of the Iranian-backed Badr organization, said in a brief statement.
"This operation is to strengthen security and stability in the province, and we will go on to achieve security," Ameri said without giving further details.
The Badr organization was previously known as Badr Brigade but maintains its longtime ties with neighboring Iran, where it was first built during the eight-year Iraqi-Iranian war in the 1980s.
It turned into a political organization after the US-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.
Meanwhile, Ali al-Timimi, head of security committee of the town of Maqdadiyah in Diyala, said the Hashd al-Shaabi forces acted on intelligence and surrounded a group of ISIL militants at Himreen area in the northern part of the province and killed ISIL military leader Abu Daha and his aide, while managing to arrest four militants.
The announcement of the killing of the group's provincial chief came as Iran's Revolutionary Guards said in a statement that their forces had killed a man named Abu Zaha, also pronounced Abu Daha in Arabic, and four other militants in Diyala province in Iraq.
Iran said that the killed ISIL leader was the "mastermind" behind an attack on a military parade in the Iranian city of Ahvaz last month which left 25 people dead, most of whom were members of the Revolutionary Guards.
The Iraqi statements about the killing of Abu Daha did not say whether the ISIL leader was the same person mentioned in the Iranian announcement.
(Top image: Vehicles of Iraqi government forces are seen after they captured the northern Altunkopru sub-district of Kirkuk province, October 20, 2017. /VCG Photo)