In a massive operation in the fall of 2020, Iraqi security forces captured 115 Daesh fighters, including terrorist leaders, and dismantled a terrorist network in Ninawa governorate.
These efforts came after Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kazemi and Director of the Iraqi Counter-Terrorism Service Lt. Gen. Abdul-Wahab al-Saadi pledged to enhance security throughout the country.
Daesh affiliates have stepped up attacks on civilian and military targets in governorates the terrorist group lost to the Iraqi forces and the international coalition forces in August 2017. According to a former security official in Mosul, in August and September 2020, Daesh remnants tried to gain a foothold in southern Mosul, but successive security operations by Iraqi security forces thwarted all attempts.
That operation led to the death and capture of 38 terrorists, including a Syrian. Captured operatives confessed to being remnants of Daesh forces defeated by Iraqi troops several years ago.
“Forces from Ninawa Operations Command,14th Infantry Division,16th Infantry Division and the Ninawa Police Department launched a joint operation to search and clear Qanus Island from Daesh remnants and destroy their hideouts to enhance security and stability in the region,” said Maj. Gen. Yahya Rasul, spokesman for the Iraqi Armed Forces commander in chief.
Qanus Island, a densely vegetated hideout 10 kilometers north in Qanus Village in Salah al-Din governorate, is used as a transit point for Daesh fighters between Syrian and Iraqi cities. In September 2020, U.S. Air Force F-15 Strike Eagles and F-35 Lightning II aircraft dropped 80,000 pounds of bombs on the island during Operation Black Dust to assist ground forces of the Counter-Terrorism Service.
Daesh occupied large swaths in Iraq and Syria in 2014, only to be expelled from Iraq by 2017. Its last stronghold in Syria fell to Syrian Democratic Forces in March 2019 during the battle of Al-Baghouz. Source: Al Mada newspaper