By Othman al-Shalash
Five members of the Shia Hashd al-Shaabi militia were killed in a Daesh ambush Saturday in northern Iraq, according to a military officer.
Captain Ghazwan al-Jabouri said Daesh militants disguised in security uniforms had set up a fake checkpoint in Shirqat, to the north of Tikrit city.
“They opened fire as a patrol of the Hasdh al-Shaabi militia was passing by the checkpoint, killing five militiamen,” he said.
He said three Daesh militants were also killed when militiamen traded fire with the militants.
According to the army officer, two other Daesh militants have fled the scene of the attack and Iraqi forces and allied militiamen launched a manhunt for them.
Established in 2014, the Hashd al-Shaabi is an umbrella group of pro-government Shia militias drawn up with the express purpose of fighting Daesh.
Last month, the Iraqi army -- backed by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes and local allies on the ground -- began a wide-ranging operation to retake Mosul, Daesh’s last bastion in northern Iraq, which the militant group overran in 2014.