ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State militants attacked a small town in a part of the Kurdistan Region known as Garmiyan late Friday, killing three and injuring eight others, including two children.
Under cover of darkness, members of the terror group shelled the town of Kolajo, located in the Kifri district, and then attacked the perimeter of the town with various weapons, leading to clashes with security services.
Casualties were rushed to Sulaimani's Shar Hospital, where a Kurdistan 24 correspondent confirmed that two of those killed were Kurdish security forces, including the top-ranking local officer, and among the wounded were a woman and two children.
The Garmiyan Administration is an unofficial province in the Kurdistan Region that includes the three districts Kalar, Kifri, and Chamchamal, in territory disputed between Baghdad and Erbil. Kurdish security forces (Asayish) protect these areas.
Islamic State militants engaged in battle with local Asayish after the bombardment, injuring four officers. Initial reports claimed that two of the wounded personnel died soon after, including the director of Asayish in Kolajo, Ismael (Simko) Ali. The Xendan media outlet wrote that Ali was shot in the stomach with a sniper round.
"This attack demonstrates that the terrorist organization is still not completely defeated, as we have continually warned," said Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani in a statement. "That is why the international community needs to continue to support Iraq and Kurdistan in fighting ISIS and working to eliminate the root causes that lead to its emergence and increased activity."
The incident comes just five days after Islamic State gunmen launched another attack about ten kilometers to the west of Kolajo. At the time, Ali told Kurdistan 24 that the gunmen had killed an Iraqi military officer and three other soldiers.
Kolajo is also part of Diyala Province, the rural parts of which have been a regular venue for Islamic State attacks since Iraq announced a final victory over the group in late 2017. The terrorist organization has launched sporadic insurgency-style attacks across these and other disputed territories, leading to mass evacuations of scores of villages in the region.
Editing by John J. Catherine