Security forces kill IS leader in central Iraq

Baghdad: Iraqi security forces on Saturday killed a prominent local Islamic State (IS) leader in Iraq’s central province of Salahudin, a provincial police source said.

The incident occurred in the early morning when a joint force of soldiers and paramilitary tribal fighters clashed with a group of IS militants, who were moving in a rural area to the west of the city of Shirqat, some 280 km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, Col. Mohammed al-Bazi from Salahudin provincial police told Xinhua.

The joint force shot dead Salih Karkaz, leader of an IS force known as “Nahawand Battalion,” who was wanted by the Iraqi forces, Bazi said.

The troops identified Karkaz’s body, Bazi added.

Hundreds of IS militants earlier fled their former bases in the key cities of Salahudin, including the provincial capital Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas during major anti-IS offensives.

Late in 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, also the commander-in-chief of the Iraqi forces, officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

However, some IS remnants have since moved to urban areas or fled to the deserts and rugged areas of the country, carrying out attacks from time to time against security forces and civilians.