ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – The US-led coalition on Monday shelled Islamic State (IS) militants in Garmiyan, near the city of Kifri, according to a Peshmerga commander.
The airstrikes took place in the areas of Palkana, Balaga, and Gharra, a Kurdish Peshmerga Commander in the area, Jamal Warni, told Kurdistan 24.
He mentioned that the number of casualties among the jihadists is unknown, but that the bombardments targeting different areas went on for hours.
Despite the liberation of IS-held territories, the jihadist group is reorganizing, taking advantage of ongoing instability to refocus its insurgent campaign against the Iraqi government.
“While the Islamic State’s territorial control has been reduced to minor pockets of rural Iraq, the group was still carrying out an average of 75 attacks per month in 2018, including a doubling of attacks year over year in Kirkuk province,” according to a research released by Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIC) on Friday.
The group’s insurgency-style attacks, kidnappings, ambushes, and use of explosives considerably increased in the country since the end of 2017, when Iraq declared final victory against IS.
The insurgency intensified after the attack and military takeover by Iraqi forces and Shia militias over Kirkuk and other disputed territories in October of last year, driving out the Kurdish Peshmerga forces who were protecting the area.
Since then, there has been a substantial security vacuum as a result of the lack of military and security cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad.
Over the past few months, senior Kurdish military officials have warned Baghdad and the international community that the jihadist group is regrouping in disputed areas, namely inside and around the Kirkuk, Diyala, Nineveh, and Salahuddin provinces, all of which are currently under the control of Iraqi forces and Shia militias.
Editing by Nadia Riva