Hawzah News Agency (Salahuddin, Iraq) - Police sources said the Takfiris opened fire on Iraq’s Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), better known by the Arabic name Hashd al-Sha’abi, in the northern Iraqi city of Baiji in the volatile north-central province of Salahuddin on Monday, leaving three of the forces dead and five others critically injured.
A security official said there were seven gunmen in the attack and some of them had been identified as wanted Daesh members. The official added that four of the attackers were killed and the remaining three were still at large.
Hashd al-Sha’abi is an Iraqi state-sponsored umbrella organization composed of some 40 groups, which are mainly Shia Muslims. The force reportedly numbers more than 100,000 fighters. Iraqi authorities say there are between 25,000 and 30,000 Sunni tribal fighters within its ranks in addition to Kurdish Izadi and Christian units.
The fighters have played a major role in the liberation of Daesh-held areas to the south, northeast and north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, ever since the Takfiri terrorist group launched an offensive in the country in June 2014.
Last week, Iraqi military aircraft launched an aerial attack against the remnants of Daesh in Salahuddin, killing at least 16 extremists in the process.
The Iraqi Defense Ministry said in a statement that the precise airstrike had targeted the militants in their hideout in the central part of Tuz Khurmatu city, located 55 miles south of Kirkuk.
Iraqi security forces also carried out a counter-terrorism offensive in the northern oil-rich province of Kirkuk on July 2, killing 14 Daesh remnants.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.
"Our forces are in complete control of the Iraqi-Syrian border and I therefore announce the end of the war against Daesh," Abadi told a conference in Baghdad.
On July 10 that year, Abadi had formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.
In the run-up to Mosul's liberation, Iraqi army soldiers and Hashd al-Sha’abi fighters had made sweeping gains against Daesh.
The Iraqi forces took control of eastern Mosul in January 2017 after 100 days of fighting, and launched the battle in the west on February 19 last year.
Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.