Iraqi security forces launched an operation, to hunt down rebel groups, including remnants of the Daesh, in rural areas, in Iraq’s central province of Salahudin, security sources said.

A joint force from the Iraqi army, police and paramilitary Hashd Shaabi brigades, advanced in five routes in the north and south of the city of Tuz-Khurmato, some 90 km east of Salahudin’s capital, Tikrit, to chase the terrorist rebel groups, who repeatedly carried out attacks against civilians and Iraqi security forces, in Tuz-Khurmato and nearby Kirkuk province, Colonel Mohammed Khalaf from Salahudin provincial police, said.

Meanwhile, a statement from the federal police said, their special forces, known as Rapid Response, cleared three villages, a mountain and some hills in the east of Tuz-Khurmato from the rebels and seized a camp.

The Hashd Shaabi also said, its forces seized two villages in the east of Tuz-Khurmato, in the first hours of the operation and destroyed some tunnels of the White Flags group, which is an extremist Sunni militant group.

The operation came, as tensions are running high between Baghdad and the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan, after the Kurdish region held a controversial referendum on independence of Kurdistan.

Ahmed al-Jubouri, the governor of Salahudin province, frequently complained that, rebel groups have been regrouping in the vast rugged areas in the eastern part of the province, that stretch to the neighbouring Diyala province and the nearby Himreen mountainous area.

During the past few months, dozens of militants fled their former bases in the key cities of the predominately Sunni Arab province of Salahudin, including the provincial capital, Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas, during major anti-Daesh offensives.

Source: NAM News Network