Iraqi army destroys ‘death boats’ and ‘paths of devil’

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By Salam al-Shammari

Azzaman, May 17, 2014

Fighting is raging between Iraqi troops and militants from the Iraq-based Jihadist group ISIS in the provinces of Diyala and Kirkuk, Iraqi army and police commanders said.

Violence has surged in both provinces, particularly outside their provincial capitals, as ISIS, the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, has been using them as supply routes, the commanders said.

Lt. Gen. Jameel al-Shammari, who commands Diyala Province’s police force, said his police officers attacked ISIS hideouts in Lake Hamrin, which they used to transport weapons between the provinces north of Baghdad.

“We destroyed many ‘death boats’ which the terrorists were using to ferry weapons and supplies among the provinces bordering the lake,” Shammari said.

Lake Hamrin, is a man-made lake, which is also called Diyala Dam. It is approximately 50 kilometers to the north-east of the Baaquba, Diyala’s provincial capital.

The militants were using the lake, with a surface area of 340 square kilometers, as a hideout and a supply route with berths for their boats, said Shammari.

As Diyala police were purging the Lake Hamrin of militants, an Iraqi army force led by Lt. Gen. Saeed al-Dulaimi, attacked ISIS strongholds in the chain of mountains known as Hamrin.

Hamrin Mountains stretch across the provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, Salhudeen and up to the borders of  the Province of Nineveh.

Dulaimi said his troops discovered an intricate network of tunnels through which the militants could easily divert supplies and weapons among the four provinces.

Through these “paths of devil” they could sustain themselves and store enough quantities of supplies to continue fighting for long periods of time.

Dulaimi said the tunnels were destroyed along with numerous four-wheel drive vehicles which the militants used for both fighting and ferrying of equipment.