ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State (IS) militants late Sunday night killed 27 Iraqi fighters after a convoy of the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi (PMF) militias was ambushed in the oil-rich and ethnically diverse province of Kirkuk, a statement announced on Monday.
The statement posted on the PMF website mentioned that IS has taken advantage of the poor weather conditions in the area to set up a fake checkpoint and donned police uniforms to stop the convoy.
The ambush took place in the village of Saadouniya, southwest of Riyadh in the city of Hawija, in the Kirkuk Province.
Separately, in an online statement, the jihadist group claimed responsibility for the attack. It claimed to have killed 30 Hashd al-Shaabi fighters and destroyed four vehicles.
Iraqi officials have already warned of the risks of “sleeper cells” loyal to the organization remaining active in parts of Iraq which have been liberated.
Iraqi forces recently launched a military operation to consolidate control of a mountainous area near the oil city of Kirkuk to be used for the transport of Iraqi oil to Iran where a rebel group is carrying out an insurgency against pro-government forces.
Iraq declared victory in December over IS, three years after it seized large swaths of territory over the country in 2014. However, the group continues to carry out attacks and bombings in Baghdad and different parts of the country.
Editing by Nadia Riva