TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraqi intelligence officials said they have foiled an attempt by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) to attack revered Shiite shrines and the Arab country’s spiritual leader.

Two officers spoke to The Associated Press on Sunday on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief the media.

They said the Daesh plan was to launch a series of suicide attacks in the holy cities of Karbala and Najaf that house the shrines as well as the home of the country's top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Seyed Ali al-Sistani.

The officers added that simultaneous airstrikes by Iraq and Russia two weeks ago hit gatherings of suicide bombers in the Iraqi town of Qaim and in Syria's Maydeen area. Both towns are under Daesh control. They gave no details on casualties.

Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over Daesh in Mosul on July 10 after a nine-month battle, marking the biggest defeat for the terror group since its sweep through northern Iraq three years ago.

But the militants seized most of Imam Gharbi, on the western bank of the Tigris River about 70 km (44 miles) south of Mosul, in the kind of strike they are now expected to make as Iraqi forces regain control over cities the group captured during its 2014 offensive.

Stripped of Mosul, Daesh's dominion in Iraq has been reduced to mainly rural, desert areas west and south of the city.