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Several insurgents killed during counterterrorism operation west of Kirkuk

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At around 02:00 on 19 April, Kirkuk Battalion, 2nd ISOF Brigade, supported by CF SOF advisors and aircraft, conducted an operation north of Kubayba Village, located west of Kirkuk along Garra Mountain. Available reporting indicates the operation was initiated by CF airstrikes against three IS positions including a headquarters. ISF and CF subsequently clashed with insurgents cordoned at one or more of the objective areas. Six IS members were killed including four leadership personnel. Two ISF members were also killed. ISF seized two vehicles and destroyed two caches. The Security Media Center later claimed that 12 insurgents were killed during this operation in a conflicting and potentially inflated figure. The operation concluded at around 07:00.

Mountainous areas between Kirkuk and Makhmour host resilient IS staging grounds used to threaten surrounding areas, particularly in suburbs north of Hawija. Associated threats were recently highlighted by the 6 March ambush against off-duty PMF personnel south of Makhmour, which killed seven PMF fighters and wounded dozens of others. CF-supported counterterrorism operations and airstrikes are regularly noted along this mountainous terrain as a result. The 19 April operation was closely preceded by a likely associated shaping operation conducted by 14th Iraqi Army Division forces closer to Makhmour along the Qarachokh Mountains. Clashes were noted, but no casualties were reported as the insurgents fled and were likely monitored.

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