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Dozens killed in clashes between Iraqi army and Islamic State militants in Kirkuk

One Iraqi soldier was killed, along with 23 IS militants [Getty]

Date of publication: 14 April, 2020

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At least 24 people died in violent clashes after the Iraqi military raided an Islamic State hideout, Iraq's defence ministry announced.
Iraq's defence ministry on Monday announced violent clashes between the Iraqi army and Islamic State militants in the northern city of Kirkuk left 24 dead, according to Arabi21 reports.

One Iraqi soldier was killed, along with 23 IS militants, the ministry said.

In an operation that was backed by the US-led coalition, the army raided a tunnel hideout for IS militants in Kirkuk's Wadi Al-Shay area.

According to Arabi21, Iraqi defence minister Najah Al-Shammari said there has been a recent increase in terrorist operations.

Al-Shammari stressed that IS should not be permitted to "take advantage of the current circumstances" of the country, referring to of Iraq's coronavirus outbreak.

Areas south of Kirkuk, and north of neighbouring provinces of Diyala, Salahaddin and Nineveh remain hotbeds of IS activity.

Last month, the US-led coalition withdrew from a military base in Kirkuk that nearly launched Washington into war with neighbouring Iran, handing the base over to Iraq's military.

A rocket attack on the K1 Air Base in late December killed an American contractor, leading to a series of tit-for-tat attacks between the US and Iran-backed Iraqi militia groups.

The attacks culminated in the US-directed killing of top Iranian general Qasem Soleimani and senior Iraqi militia leader Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis.

K1 has hosted coalition forces since 2017 to launch operations against the Islamic State group in the nearby mountainous areas.

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