ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The Islamic State (IS) has issued a warning claiming its militants would target polling stations across Iraq during the upcoming parliamentary elections, warning Sunni Iraqis not to take part in the electoral process.
In an audiotape released on Sunday, IS extremists said “all those who support or participate in the elections” would be a target. The jihadist group stated it would strike polling stations and told Sunni Iraqis to stay clear of the polls or risk being killed.
The country will be holding national legislative elections on May 12, the first since the defeat of IS. The previous Shia government headed by controversial figure Nouri al-Maliki was accused of creating the conditions that led to the emergence of the jihadist group as Sunni Iraqis felt excluded from the political process.
Sunni Arabs, who are a minority despite ruling Iraq for a century, have expressed they were unjustly unseated by the US in 2003 and as a result, marginalized from the ruling class. There are 6986 candidates who have been certified to run in next month's elections, competing for 329 seats in Baghdad's parliament.
The audio message called on its followers across the world to launch attacks in Iraq, Syria, Russia, and Iran, as well as Europe and the US.
Kurdistan 24 was unable to verify the authenticity of the message but IS often publishes its recordings on unregulated platforms on the internet.
Last week, Iraq conducted a rare cross-border operation in Syria that struck 36 IS targets.
Iraq has witnessed an IS resurgence of its own in recent weeks with the group claiming a string of bombings, assassinations, and kidnappings in areas previously liberated by Iraqi forces.