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Retaliatory Iraqi airstrikes kill 9 Islamic State operatives, including 4 Lebanese

Mourners carry the flag-draped coffins of Iraqi soldiers killed in an attack by gunmen of the Islamic State extremist group in Baqouba in Diyala province during a mass funeral procession inside the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)
Mourners carry the flag-draped coffins of Iraqi soldiers killed in an attack by gunmen of the Islamic State extremist group in Baqouba in Diyala province during a mass funeral procession inside the shrine of Imam Ali in Najaf, Iraq, Friday, Jan. 21, 2022. (AP Photo/Anmar Khalil)

Airstrikes north of Baghdad — in retaliation for an attack by the Islamic State group on an Iraqi army barracks earlier this month — kill nine suspected IS fighters, including four Lebanese, officials say.

IS gunmen in Iraq broke into a barracks in the mountainous al-Azim district outside the town of Baqouba on Jan. 21, killed a guard and shot dead 11 soldiers as they slept. It was one of the boldest attacks by Islamic State in recent weeks and came amid an uptick in violence that stoked fears the group has been re-energized.

Yehia Rasool, the spokesman for Iraq’s commander in chief, says the joint military operations room and the air force identified the cell behind the attack as its members hid in al-Azim.

Three airstrikes were launched that killed the nine operatives, he says.

A security official tells The Associated Press that four among the killed were Lebanese, natives of the northern town of Tripoli. He speaks on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak to reporters.

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