RNA – The coordinated assault which took place in the cities of Makishfah and Balad, led to clashes between PMU forces and the Daesh terrorists on several fronts, the paramilitary group said on Saturday.
The PMU further said its fighters have now taken control of the situation, adding the Iraqi government has also sent reinforcements to supplement efforts and prepare for a possible retaliatory attack.
Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi has paid tribute to families of those who were killed, according to a statement circulated by Iraqi media.
“With great sadness, we received news of the martyrdom of a group of heroes from among the PMU who died defending their homeland in the face of ISIL (Daesh) attacks in the Makishfah and Balad areas north of Baghdad,” the statement said.
The PMU was formed by popular volunteer forces in 2014 after the Daesh terror group launched a campaign of bloodshed and destruction against Iraq.
The group played a major role pushing back and ultimately defeating the terrorist forces which had taken control of a large swathes of the Arab country.
The Iraqi parliament voted to integrate the PMU into the Iraqi military in 2016, effectively placing the force under the command of the prime minister and granting the group a standing similar to that of other branches of Iraqi security forces.
The combined push, which was reinforced by Iraq’s allies, including Iran, ultimately led to Daesh’s expulsion in late 2017.
Daesh remnants, who conduct sporadic attacks against Iraqi security forces and civilians alike with increasing regularity, attempt to regroup and wage a new era of its reign of terror and destruction in the region.
Following the United States’ assassination of Iran’s top anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qasem Soleymani and PMU’s deputy commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis in the capital city of Baghdad, Daesh has intensified its attacks in Iraq.
Meanwhile, the US and Israel have repeatedly attacked the positions of the PMU and its affiliated groups and killed dozens of their members.
The PMU has long rejected Washington’s military presence in the country as an obstacle impeding long-lasting security and stability in Iraq.
Iraqi resistance groups have vowed to take up arms against US forces if Washington fails to comply with a parliamentary order calling for the expulsion of US troops following the assassination.
The US-led military coalition has recently started evacuating its troops from a number of bases in Iraq, handing the bases over to the Iraqi military.
The United States has also transferred its military equipment from Iraq to an area near the Syrian city of al-Hasakah.