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Heavy IS casualties during CF-supported operation southwest of Kirkuk


At around 21:00 on 5 February, Counter-Terrorism Service (CTS) forces supported by CF conducted an intelligence-driven operation in an area between Khatuniya, Murata, and Khabbaza villages, located southwest of Kirkuk in the Riyadh Sub-District. The operation was initiated with CF airstrikes. ISF and CF Special Operations Forces advisors clashed with insurgents in the mentioned areas through the following morning. At least seven insurgents were killed including three who detonated explosive belts. No ISF or CF casualties were reported. The affected area was said to be absent of civilians. The CTS forces, likely members of the 2nd ISOF Brigade, subsequently withdrew with CF counterparts back to K-1 Military Base.

The 5 February operation is assessed to confirm that while the 2nd ISOF Brigade is no longer headquartered in Kirkuk, it is likely that one of its subordinate battalions continues to operate from K-1 Military Base. In conjunction with CF advisors, intelligence, and strike support, CTS forces at this base are readably capable of conducting intelligence-driven operations against IS cells in the restive historic Hawija pocket. The next most recent significant CF-supported operation was noted a month prior on 5 January in Mazirer Village, also located north of Hawija along the southern fringes of Dibis District. Three insurgents were reportedly killed, with the individuals said to be responsible for planning previous attacks against power transmission towers.


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