ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A number of Islamic State (IS) militants launched two separate attacks late Thursday in the Iraqi provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala, wounding a police officer and killing a militia fighter, according to government sources and statements. In one of the incidents, power lines were sabotaged in what appears to have been part of a plan to lure others to the area to be ambushed.
In Kirkuk's Daquq district, IS members staged an assault on a federal police barracks in the village of Zanqar, an area reportedly witnessing a recent uptick in terrorist activity.
A security source told Kurdistan 24 on Friday that the attack seriously injured a senior lieutenant colonel, later transferred to a hospital in Kirkuk where he is currently receiving emergency medical care.
Also on Friday, the Iraqi Ministry of Electricity said in a statement that "saboteur terrorists" recently targeted a major power line in Diyala Province, resulting in the loss of 400-megawatts of power supply to the area.
As a result, a team of ministry engineers traveled to the area on Thursday to repair a damaged electricity tower under the protection of fighters from Iraq's Hashd al-Shaabi militias, also known as the Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF). On the way, a hidden explosive device blew up, killing one officer and wounding two other militia members,
"Despite this, the men of the Hashd were able to dismantle five more explosive devices that the terrorist elements planted on the path of the workers along the route of the electric line," the statement said.
Militants then carried out additional mortar attacks as the maintenance team was busy repairing the line for several hours.
Transmission lines and petroleum pipelines have often been sabotaged by bombs in acts the Iraqi authorities say IS is behind or for which the group has claimed responsibility.
Reports indicate IS activity continues to grow, with regular insurgency-style attacks, ambushes, bombings, and kidnappings taking place in liberated and disputed areas despite Baghdad declaring final victory against the extremist group over a year ago.
Editing by John J. Catherine