ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State (IS) fighters killed more than ten people in an ambush on the Kirkuk – Baghdad road, security revealed on Monday.
A number of IS militants erected a fake security checkpoint on Sunday evening between the villages of al-Maftul and al-Sarha, located on Daquq – Tuz Khurmatu road, also known as Kirkuk – Baghdad highway.
The jihadist group forced vehicles to pull over by the roadside and killed many people, security in the area told Kurdistan 24.
Between 10 and 15 people were reportedly killed at the fake checkpoint. Kurdistan 24 could not independently verify the accuracy of the claims due to conflicting reports.
“Among the dead is one family – a man, his wife, his brother, and two children. Their bodies were also burned,” the security added.
Such incidents bring to mind tactics that the jihadist group, and others such as Al-Qaeda, carried out before capturing Mosul and large swaths of territory in northern Iraq in 2014.
In another incident, unidentified gunmen assassinated a truck driver in the Anjana area on the same road, a security source mentioned without giving further details.
In an online statement, IS claimed responsibility for the attacks, stating the operations targeted Shia people in particular.
It is one of the deadliest assaults carried out by the jihadist group, a few months after Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over IS in the country.
Since then, IS have carried out many insurgent attacks and bombings across the country, in particular, the oil-rich and disputed province of Kirkuk, notably after Iraqi forces and pro-Iran militias took over the territory in Oct. 2017.
“The reality on the ground in the Hawija area, Kirkuk Province, Hamreen Mountains, and some areas in Nineveh Province near Mosul proves that Da’esh [IS] is reorganizing itself as it remains active in the region,” Halgurd Hikmat, a spokesperson for the Kurdish Peshmerga Ministry, previously told Kurdistan 24.
“This can be interpreted as Da’esh planning to increase its military operations in those areas in the near future,” Hikmat warned.
Editing by Nadia Riva