ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Contrary to the Iraqi Prime Minister’s announcement of the end of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq in early December, the extremist group’s sleeper cells continue to launch attacks and claim lives.
IS extremists have killed and injured 40 people while attacking the Iraqi security forces and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi in south and west of Kirkuk.
The extremists appear to have been hiding in the Sunni-populated areas of southern and western Kirkuk.
According to the statements of the Iraqi army commanders, IS group have launched surprise attacks in Sharia’a, Riyadh, Hawija road and some other areas in southern Kirkuk.
In a recent attack, gunmen opened fire on the vehicle of Shari’a village Police Director Colonel Fadhil al-Sabhawi, killing him, his son and five of his security guards, a security source in Kirkuk told Kurdistan 24 on Monday.
In another attack on Hawija-Kirkuk road, IS attacked a convoy of the Hashd al-Shaabi, killing 20 Shia militias and five civilians.
Due to the recent attacks, some families have been displaced in search of safer places, the security source said.
Sleeper cells are one of the toughest security challenges facing the newly-liberated areas and have hindered the return of many displaced families.
Recently, Prime Minister of Iraq Haider al-Abadi claimed the fight against the jihadist group had gone from a military battle to one of intelligence and information, calling on Iraqis to remain vigilant and cautious.
On Oct.16, Iraqi troops and the Hashd al-Shaabi attacked and took over the entire province of Kirkuk which had been under the protection of the Kurdish Peshmerga forces since 2014.
Editing by Sam A.