Kirkuk oil fields, File photo
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DUHOK ــ Iraqi air force on Friday targeted a convoy of 20 tankers loaded with crude oil for the radical group of Islamic State (ISIS) in the Qayyarah oil field to the south of Nineveh province, Nineveh operations command in the Iraqi army said in an official statement.
The ISIS convoy was completely destroyed in Friday’s airstrikes.
Iraqi army confirmed in a statement, obtained by ARA News, that a large number of ISIS terrorists were also killed during the operation, who were apparently smuggling crude oil to their areas of control in Syria.
Speaking to ARA News in Nineveh, rights activist Osama Khamis said that ISIS still depends on the sale of crude oil and smuggling between Iraq and Syria, despite the US-led airstrikes.
“The terror group has been using new ways for smuggling oil,” he argued, pointing out that ISIS still depends on the manufacturing of petroleum products though primitive ways in a bid to secure its needs of oil.
Khamis stressed that Iraqi warplanes intensified airstrikes on the vicinity of the oil wells in Nineveh, causing a huge fire covered with a dark smoke.
In a related development, leadership of the 7th division of the Iraqi army in Anbar province issued an official statement, saying: “The US-led coalition forces targeted four ISIS-led vehicles near the al-Baghdadi township west of Ramadi, resulting in their destruction and the death of their entire crew.”
In the meantime, official sources in the Kurdish Peshmerga forces in Kirkuk province reported that they launched Friday an offensive on ISIS positions northwest of the province, and were able to kill and wound 23 ISIS militants in the Atshana village in the district of Dibs [45 km north west of Kirkuk].
“The Peshmerga-led attack on ISIS positions in Kirkuk came to prevent the terrorists from using this area for targeting our forces bastions in the region,” Lt. Izzedin Wanki from the Peshmerga forces told ARA News.
This comes amid preparations for launching a wide-scale military operation by the 7th Division of the Iraqi Army, backed by the US-led coalition’s air force, in a bid to liberate the Jezirat al-Baghdadi district from the radical group.
The Iraqi air force, supported by the US-led coalition warplanes, have been targeting ISIS-linked headquarters, tactical units, oil tankers and arms storehouses for months, according to local sources.
Experts believe that ISIS strength has remarkably declined over the past few months, especially after dozens of vital positions and command centers were destroyed by the US-led coalition forces.
Reporting by: Ali Issa
Source: ARA News