The Islamic State group, also known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (Isis) or the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil), has suffered dozens of casualties across Iraq over the past few days, including a top leader. It has also killed some of its own men in the country, further depleting its ranks, in what is believed to be the beginning of the end for the extremist group.
Iraqi News reported on Sunday, quoting a source in Anbar Operations Command, that the forces had killed 30 Isis members while the latter were trying to sneak into northern Ramadi through the Euphrates River.
The report quoted the source as saying: "Security forces monitored at noon today members of Isis while they were trying to sneak in from Albu Ziab area to Albu Eitha area in northern Ramadi, through the Euphrates River using four boats. The security forces foiled the sneaking attempt and killed 30 Isis members. The Isis members were trying to target the security forces in Albu Eitha area [sic]."
Isis also lost a top leader on Saturday. Jazeera Operations Command chief Qassim al-Mohamadi said: "We received intelligence inputs indicating the presence of the Isis Wali of Baghdadi Island Abu Arrab inside an Isis headquarter in al-Wasiliyah, to the west of Ramadi. Acting on the tip-off, the international coalition aviation bombed the headquarter, killing all the Isis members inside. The dead members also included Abu Arrab."
Another Iraqi News report on Sunday said 12 Isis members were killed and 13 others injured in an air-strike by the coalition forces to the south-east of Mosul.
Kurdish group PKK's media official Gayath al-Surji was quoted as saying in a statement: "International coalition aviation at noon today bombed at an Isis gathering in al-Safina village in the Gwer axis to the south-east of Mosul. In the bombing 12 Isis members were killed and 13 others were severely injured."
A third Iraqi News report, this time quoting a source in the Nineveh police announcement on Sunday, said a bomb blast near Mosul had led to the death of six Isis members. "A bomb exploded targeting a convoy of Isis gunmen at the entrance to Telkaif district north of Mosul, killing six Isis members. Their bodies were handed over to the forensic department in Mosul," said the report.
Meanwhile, another 13 Isis militants were killed in an attack towards the east of Mosul as the Kurdish Peshmerga forces repelled it.
Iraqi F-16 aircraft also got into the act, killing 10 Isis militants in air-strikes in Mosul on Sunday. Sources were quoted as saying in a press statement: "Based on intelligence information received from the security directorate, Iraqi F-16 fighter jets carried out an airstrike. Apart from destroying a factory of missile manufacture, the airstrike also killed 10 Isis members including the Algerian leader Abu Ritaj at Al-dindan neighbourhood in Mosul."
Another four Isis members were killed when coalition air-strikes hit 12 Isis vehicles carrying oil in Nineveh. Officials from Iraq's Ministry of Defence said in a statement on Sunday: "The international coalition aviation today bombed 12 Isis vehicles that were carrying crude oil in Nineveh. Four Isis members were killed and the vehicles were completely destroyed."
The statement also said: "Isis was planning to set fire to the vehicles to obscure the vision of the joint security forces."
Isis kills two of its own
A statement from a local leader said on Saturday said: "Isis executed two of its own leaders and transferred four others to Mosul, a day after the were arrested near Hawija, south-west of Kirkuk. They were linked to the Emir of Isis in Kirkuk, who was executed yesterday [Friday]. The Emir was arrested because in an audio recording [in which] he was heard of appealing to the Isis fighters to withdraw and fall back from Hawija."
The statement also said: "On the other hand, Isis detained over 30 of its own men due to the chaos and internal confusion in the ranks of the organisation. Rifts among the leaders have also surfaced and the morale of the fighters have also gone down in the past few weeks."
The difference in ranks within Isis is not surprising, considering the heavy defeats it has been seeing in both Syria and Iraq.