At least six members of the Hashd al-Shaabi forces were killed in an attack suspected to have been carried out by the ISIL (ISIS) group in Iraq’s Salahaddin province.
State media said clashes broke out early Saturday between members of the Popular Mobilisation Forces and ISIL in the town of Mekeeshfa and the city of Balad.
The attack was one of the deadliest carried out by the ISIL since the armed group was defeated in December 2017.
The Hashd al-Shaabi, which was founded as a loose network of Shia-majority factions, played a crucial role in defeating ISIL.
Although the casualties on both sides was not immediately established, at least six people are reported to have been killed in the clashes.
The Hashd said they had taken back control, pushing back the ISIL fighters. The group said the government had sent reinforcements to help prepare for a possible retaliatory attack. ISIL has been stepping up attacks in Iraq over the past month.