ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Two people were killed and seven others were kidnapped over the Eid holiday by Islamic State (IS) extremists in Diyala province, just north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad.
Uday al-Khidran, the Mayor of Khalis District in the province of Diyala, on Monday revealed that IS fighters had kidnapped seven civilians and killed two others after erecting a fake security checkpoint in the Injana area.
Khidran said the people that were killed in the IS attack on the Kirkuk-Baghdad Road were truck drivers transporting goods between Iraqi provinces, al-Sumaria news outlet reported.
Five of the seven people kidnapped by IS extremists were traveling in one vehicle, the Iraqi official noted.
He added the Iraqi security forces launched an investigation into the matter, an attempt to address growing security concerns in the area.
Iraq declared ‘final victory’ over IS last year, but the security situation remains precarious as Iraqi officials have warned people to ‘stay vigilant.’
Since the liberation of Mosul, the group’s de facto capital in Iraq, IS remnants have been carrying out an insurgency, focusing on kidnappings, shootings, and bombings across the country, particularly in the oil-rich and disputed province of Kirkuk after Iraqi forces and pro-Iran militias took over the territory in Oct. 2017.
On March 22, IS extremists claimed responsibility for an attack which targeted a bus carrying two families on the highway connecting Kirkuk and Baghdad. At least 35 people were killed and wounded, including children and women.
In another incident earlier in March, a number of IS militants erected a fake security checkpoint between the villages of al-Maftul and al-Sarha, located on the Daquq – Tuz Khurmatu road, a section of the Kirkuk – Baghdad highway, killing 10 people and wounding 15 others.
Halgurd Hikmat, a spokesperson for the Kurdish Ministry of Peshmerga, previously told Kurdistan 24 that “the reality on the ground in the province of Kirkuk, the Hamreen Mountains, and some areas in the Nineveh and Diyala provinces, proves that Da’esh [IS] is reorganizing itself as it remains active in the region.”
Editing by Nadia Riva