Alwaght- Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) repelled an ISIS assault on the al-Eith region of the eastern Salahuddin Province.
The ISIS terrorist group has launched several attacks across Iraq as the Kata'ib Hezbollah resistance group warns of a Saudi-US plan to revive the group.
The Arabic Al-Mayadeen news network reported on Sunday that the PMF’s 47th Brigade also repelled an ISIS operation in the Jurf al-Sakhar region in the central Babil province, resulting in one PMU casualty.
Another attack in the eastern Diyala province, however, lead to five casualties among the country’s pro-government tribal units, according to a security official.
Earlier on Sunday, a ISIS operation seeking to infiltrate the central Karbala province from the western Anbar province was forced to retreat with casualties following the intervention of Iraqi security services.
Iraqi forces also launched numerous raids on ISIS terror cells on Sunday.
Four terrorists were killed after PMU artillery units targeted ISIS elements east of the city of Tikrit in Salahuddin.
Another four terrorists were captured in the northern Kirkuk province.
Separate Iraqi security operations also led to the arrests of two prominent ISIS figures in the northern Nineveh province, known as “Abu Talha al-Ansari” and “Humam al-A’li”.
The spike in terror and anti-terror operations comes after at least 10 PMU fighters were killed in a coordinated attack in the cities of Mekeeshfa and Balad in the Salahuddin Province in a ISIS raid on Saturday.
The engagements mark the latest of an increasing string of ISIS sleeper cell attacks in the past few weeks, usually concentrated between the provinces of Salahuddin, Kirkuk and Diyala.
The uptick in Daesh operations has happened nearly simultaneously with Washington’s latest string of airstrikes openly targeting PMU forces, which are formally part of the Iraqi security forces.
Washington most notably assassinated the PMU’s deputy commander Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, alongside Iran’s top anti-terror Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani, in the capital city Baghdad in January.
Iraqi resistance groups have responded by vowing to take up arms against US military presence if Washington fails to comply with a parliamentary order calling for the expulsion of US troops following the assassination.
The increased ISIS attacks across the country also come as the government’s ability to respond has been affected by political uncertainty and preoccupation with controlling the COVID-19 outbreak in the country.
ISIS overrun large swathes of the country after unleashing a deadly campaign in 2014.
The formation of voluntary forces later known as the PMU, however, allowed Iraq to gradually bring the ISIS advance to a standstill, ultimately leading to the group losing all control over Iraqi territory in 2017.
‘ISIS attacks incited by Saudi-US plot’
Speaking in an exclusive interview with Iran’s IRNA news agency, Mohammed Muhyee, spokesman for the Iraqi Kata'ib Hezbollah resistance group affiliated with the PMU, said that the recent ISIS operations stemmed from US and Saudi provocations.
Muhyee’s remarks echoed statements published by numerous other Iraqi resistance groups in the last few days.
Muhyee added that Riyadh and Washington were using the group to impose their will on the country, with the US specifically seeking to justify prolonging its military presence.
“We can not expect ISIS' recent operations to have occurred naturally; international and regional intelligence organizations are supporting it with logistics, intelligence and weapons,” he said.
Muhyee added that the US and Saudi plot sought to force the PMU to leave Iraq’s western, northern and eastern regions.
Referring to ISIS' attack on Mekeeshfa and Balad on Saturday, Muhyee said that ISIS control over the two areas could bring the country to the edge of a new security crisis similar to the one which lead to ISIS' initial expansion in 2014.
The spokesman added that ISIS' simultaneous operations across several provinces may be intended to provide cover for a future and larger operation.