On October 8, Lieutenant General Muzher al-Izawi of the Iraqi Army told the Iraqi al-Sumaria news TV channel that the Iraqi Army, security forces and the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) launched a security operation against ISIS cells in Hawd al-Zoor area 40km north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad.

Lit. Gen. al-Izawi revealed that the operation will be launched from three directions with the support of the Iraqi Air Force. The decision to launch the operation was likely taken after ISIS cells carried out a number of hit-and-run attacks, and sabotage operations against the Iraqi Police and civilians during the last week.

On October 8, the ISIS-linked news agency Amaq announced that ISIS cells kidnaped and executed the local administrator of Saif Saad village near Hawd al-Zoor area.

In a related development, Iraqi Army Brigadier General Yahya al-Rasul, spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Operations Room, said that the Iraqi Army is preparing to launch a military operation to liberate Rawa town and al-Qa’im city near the Syrian-Iraqi border according to Iraqi sources.

Rawa town and al-Qa’im city are considered the last two strongholds of ISIS in Iraq. The operation to liberate these areas will likely begin soon, as the Iraqi Army and the PMU already has a large force deployed east of Rawa tow.