IS guerilla campaign intensifies in Diyala, Salahaddin

Despite losing ground in Mosul, IS militants to the east have stepped up insurgent attacks, conducting deadly raids on security forces, oil infrastructure, and rural villages.
Hadi al-Amiri (R), the head of the Badr Organization, speaks with officers on the outskirts of Muqdadiyah, in Diyala province, on Jan. 23, 2015. (STRINGER/Reuters)

BAQUBA - On the evening of Jan. 13, Ali Haidar, the commander of the 110th Brigade of the Badr Organization paramilitary group, received a tip from an Iranian intelligence officer operating in Diyala province: five militants from the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) were in the Nada Area, just south of Khanaqin.

Haidar led a detachment of 35 troops to investigate. But instead of catching a few IS militants by surprise, it was the Badr soldiers who were ambushed - by at least 20 militants - in a fight that would claim the lives of Haidar and his three bodyguards.

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