TEHRAN (Press Shia) – Iraqi forces have begun a major mop-up operation to cleanse the Kirkuk-Diyala road of remnants of Takfiri terrorists, an Iraqi commander said.

“With the supervision of the Joint Operations Command, the army, federal police, rapid response (forces), Hashd al-Shaabi, and the Diyala and Salahudin police sectors, and in coordination with the Peshmerga forces, Iraqi troops have initiated a wide operation to cleanse the area located to the east of the Kirkuk-Diyala road,” Brigadier-General Yahya Rasool, spokesman for the Iraqi Joint Operations Command (JOC), said in a statement on Wednesday, al-Forat news reported.

Last week, Iraqi troops found the corpses of eight civilians who had been kidnaped by Daesh (ISIL or ISIS) terrorists on the Kirkuk-Diyala road.

Iraqi military aircraft also launched an aerial attack against the Takfiri terrorist group in the country's north-central province of Salahuddin, killing more than a dozen extremists in the process.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry, in a statement, announced that the precise airstrike targeted a militant hideout near Tal Farhan area in the central part of Tuz Khurmatu city, located 55 miles south of Kirkuk, leaving 16 Daesh terrorists dead.

The statement added that the militants were hiding inside the building when the air raid was staged.

“The terrorists had sneaked into Tuz Khurmatu from nearby mountains in a bid to carry out terrorist attacks against security forces,” the statement concluded.

Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared the end of military operations against Daesh in the Arab country on December 9, 2017.

On July 10 that year, Abadi had formally declared victory over Daesh extremists in Mosul, which served as the terrorists’ main urban stronghold in the conflict-ridden Arab country.

Daesh began a terror campaign in Iraq in 2014, overrunning vast swathes in lightning attacks.