ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – The Islamic State (IS) has announced responsibility for an attack which targeted a bus carrying two families on the main road between Kirkuk and Baghdad about two days ago.
Earlier in the week, gunmen raided a fake checkpoint on the road to the town of Daquq, between Baghdad and Kirkuk, intercepting a bus carrying two families before spraying it with bullets.
Initial reports said the attack killed and injured 35 people on board the bus, including several women and children.
According to a statement on its website, IS said its militants set up a fake barrier near Daquq, cutting the road between Baghdad and Kirkuk before firing on a bus carrying Shia pilgrims apparently headed for a religious shrine in the area.
This is the second bloody ambush carried out by the extremist group on the same road this month following a similar attack on a civilian car less than two weeks ago.
Such incidents are similar to the tactics which IS extremists had adopted in the years before their capture of Mosul and large swaths of territory in Iraq in 2014.
It is also one of the bloodiest attacks since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared a “final victory” over IS last December after months of Iraqi forces regaining control of most of the areas the extremists had occupied in the country.
Despite Abadi’s announcement, the militant group continues to launch random attacks, bombings, and assassinations in many cities.
Iraqi officials continue to warn of “sleeper cells” belonging to the extremist organization, which are still active in many liberated areas.
Meanwhile, the Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi on Wednesday announced the killing of some armed men who tried to attack a northern suburb of Baghdad.
The Shia militias said in a statement that its forces carried out “a security operation” north of Baghdad, where they managed to kill “a number of elements” belonging to IS.
The statement said the militants were preparing to launch an attack in the predominantly Sunni town of Tarmiyah.