April 14, 2019 1:45 pm

Iraqi forces kill Islamic State commander and 4 fighters in northeast Iraq

An Iraqi special forces soldier fires a cannon at Islamic States fighters in Bartella, east of Mosul, Iraq October 20, 2016.

REUTERS/Goran Tomasevic/File Photo

Security forces killed an Islamic State commander and four fighters in the Hamrin Mountains area of northeast Iraq on Sunday, the military said.

Iraqi and U.S.-led coalition warplanes have been carrying out air strikes in the area, targeting militant hideouts, for three days.

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The elite Counter Terrorism Service and the military’s operations command for Diyala province did not name the commander but they said in a statement he was in charge of Islamic State forces in Hamrin.

He and four “followers” were killed in the area northeast of Baquba, the provincial capital, on Sunday, it said.

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Iraq declared victory over the group, which once held large swathes of the country, in December 2017.

With its dream of a caliphate in the Middle East now dead, Islamic State has switched to hit-and-run attacks aimed at undermining the Baghdad government.

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The militants regrouped in the Hamrin mountain range in the northeast, which extends from Diyala province, on the border with Iran, northwest to the River Tigris in Kirkuk province.

© 2019 Reuters

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