ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – A group of men on Thursday shot and killed a lawyer in a predominantly Arab neighborhood in south Kirkuk as assassinations in the disputed province are on the rise.
The murder is the second assassination in a week in Kirkuk, where the security situation has severely deteriorated since the Iraqi government took sole control of the multi-ethnic city.
A security source and witnesses told Kurdistan 24 that unidentified gunmen opened fire on the lawyer, Marwan al-Jubouri, from a speeding car in the Uruba neighborhood. The assailants then fled as Jubouri died at the scene of the crime, according to a witness.
No group has claimed responsibility for the incident, the latest in a string of unclaimed attacks in Kirkuk since its military takeover by Iraqi forces and Iranian-backed Shia militias on Oct. 16.
On Tuesday, armed men assassinated an official from the Turkmen Front Party in a neighborhood not far from the Uruba district in Kirkuk. The two areas are home to a mix of Kurds, Turkmen and Arab populations.
The disputed oil-rich mixed province of Kirkuk over the past few months has witnessed an increase in acts of violence and armed conflict targeting civilians and security forces.
Despite Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s “final victory” announcement in early December to mark the end of the Islamic State (IS) in Iraq, the extremist group continues to strike in newly-liberated areas.
Local officials have claimed IS cells have returned to the town of Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk.
Terrorism experts warn the militant group’s threat remains active in the region and the US-led coalition cautioned that militants were moving freely in the desert areas bordering Iraq and would be adopting insurgency tactics in the country.
Kurdish officials have also noted that ongoing tensions between Erbil and Baghdad would contribute to the reemergence of IS or similar groups in Iraq.