ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Suspected Islamic State (IS) militants on Sunday kidnapped five people, a Kurdish Peshmerga among them, and killed and wounded 12 members of the Iranian-backed Shia Hashd al-Shaabi, in separate incidents in the oil-rich province of Kirkuk.
“In the Yayci subdistrict’s Qara Tapa village, west of Kirkuk city, IS launched an assault on the Hashd al-Shaabi [also known as the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF)], killing two and wounding ten,” Kurdistan 24 reported.
In southeastern Kirkuk, suspected IS militants “snatched up an officer of the Peshmerga forces last night (Sunday) in Zanqr village, south of Kirkuk’s Daquq town,” witnesses told Kurdistan 24.
Locals explained that the Peshmerga, Farhad Fayaq Walid, had returned home with four workers to harvest grain when an armed group, which they suspect to be from the jihadist organization, forcibly took them to an unknown location.
Concerns regarding security are rising with the number of attacks growing by the day in territories contested by the central government in Baghdad and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The disputed territories were under the protection of Kurdish Peshmerga forces since 2014 after they cleared them of IS. They were forced to withdraw on Oct. 16 last year following an attack by Iraqi troops and Iranian-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias in the aftermath of the Kurdistan Region’s referendum on independence from the rest of Iraq.
Editing by Nadia Riva
Hemin Dalo contributed to this report