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Iraq Launches Operation to Pursue ISIS Elements After Recent Attacks

Iraq Launches Operation to Pursue ISIS Elements After Recent Attacks

Monday, 4 May, 2020 - 09:30
Ruins seen after an ISIS attack on one of the Popular Mobilization Forces checkpoints in Mukaishefah town, south of Tikrit, at dawn on Saturday, May 2, 2020. (AFP)

Iraqi security forces began Sunday large-scale military operations to purse ISIS remnants.

This military campaign comes in response to the recent attacks launched by the terrorist organization in a number of Iraqi regions, in which security personnel and elements from the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were killed.

According to the semi-official Al-Iraqiya TV channel, the operations were launched in line with orders by Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces and focused on the outskirts of Salah al-Din province and the west of Diyala and Anbar provinces.

Speaking on condition of anonymity, a source in Mosul city said some merchants have recently complained about the ISIS elements again imposing royalties on them.

This brings to mind the group's blackmail and the imposition of royalties on the city's merchants and riches before seizing it in June 2014.

The source told Asharq Al-Awsat that the current extortion and royalties are practiced on a small scale and mostly in secret.

“Some traders respond to their demands, fearing retaliation by the terrorist elements and due to their lack of confidence in the government's measures against ISIS.”

“The trust of citizens in Mosul and Nineveh’s areas in the security forces and the PMF factions are declining,” the source stressed, noting that some of their elements were involved in similar corruption and blackmailing acts.

ISIS captured most of Nineveh province’s areas after June 2014 before being recaptured by Iraqi security forces in July 2017.

Hisham al-Hashemi, a specialist on extremist movements, said ISIS elements will most likely impose royalties and practice extortions on Nineveh’s citizens.

Hashemi told Asharq Al-Awsat that according to the confessions of detainees from the western Nineveh areas, ISIS had completed organizing its self-financing network in late 2019.

“ISIS collects royalties and investments estimated at about $100,000 a day from multiple trades, including arms, oil, medicines, and cigarettes, and takes royalties from transport vehicles and oil tanks,” the expert added.

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