The spokesman for the US-led anti-ISIS coalition said five ISIS hideouts were destroyed in airstrikes in Iraq’s Hamrin mountain range.
“Based on intel, @CJTFOIR fighter jets conducted 9 airstrikes resulted in the destruction of 5 Daesh hideouts in Hamrin mountains,” US Army Col. Wayne Marotto wrote on Twitter on Sunday.
The offensive comes as Washington and Baghdad are engaged in talks on the future of the US troop presence in Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi is under pressure to get the US to leave and has reported progress in the negotiations, but there is still no timeline on when a withdrawal could happen.
While the operations gain little media attention, the US-led coalition frequently carries out airstrikes and raids against ISIS targets. On Friday, Col. Marotto said the coalition had carried out 27 operations so far in the month of May and prevented “66 Daesh terrorists from committing acts of terrorism.”
While ISIS has no real foothold in Iraq and only operates out of rural hideouts, the Pentagon has been hyping the threat of the group as a reason for the US to stay in Iraq. In April, Gen. Frank McKenzie, the head of US Central Command, claimed that Baghdad wanted the US to stay to help fight ISIS.
Iraq’s parliament has wanted the US to leave since January 2020, when Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani and Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis were killed in Baghdad by a US drone strike. After the assassination, Iraq’s parliament voted unanimously to expel US troops.