The rescue operation came during an anti-Islamic State push that police forces carried out in Zghitoun Valley, located to the south of Kirkuk Province, the Iraqi Federal Police said in a statement.
It added that the freed individuals had been kidnapped “two weeks ago in southern Kirkuk,” identifying them as Hazem Ahmad Aziz and Bassem Rahim Daher.
The rescue mission occurred as campaigns against the Islamic State in multiple provinces concluded, in response to the group’s insurgency in Iraq, even close to two years after Baghdad declared its defeat.
On Friday, Iraqi security forces announced the conclusion to an operation that was part of the latest effort to engage members of the extremist group after the military claimed success in clearing areas north and west of Baghdad in two previous military operations.
Read more: Iraq announces end to parallel anti-ISIS military operations
According to Iraq's Joint Operations Command, the campaign targeted areas located north of Miqdadiya district in Diyala province, as well as north of Jalawla and Khanaqin, most of which are disputed territories between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal government of Iraq.
As sleeper cells of the Islamic State engage in an insurgency war in said areas, a KRG minister on Sunday called for increased cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad.
Read more: Erbil, Baghdad cooperation needed to fight ISIS in disputed areas: Minister
“The reality here, and the overall security situation, requires that we and the Iraqi army maintain a strong relationship to fill and control the existing security vacuums together and prevent terrorists from making a resurgence,” Minister of Peshmerga, Shorish Ismael, told Kurdistan 24.
Editing by Nadia Riva