Iraqi forces launch security operations against ISIS remnants in Kirkuk, Diyala provinces
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi forces launched large-scale security operations in Diyala and Kirkuk provinces on Thursday to track Islamic State terrorists and secure the area from possible insurgency attacks.
Police and Iraqi army forces launched a security campaign in Hawz al-Waqf, 25 kilometers northeast of Baquba, local security sources told Kurdistan 24. According to the sources, the operation’s goal is “to end the presence of any ISIS militants in the security gaps in those areas and prevent future terrorist attacks.”
Furthermore, police and Iraqi Security Forces conducted a security search operation in both the Riyadh and Rashad territories of al-Hawija district, southwest of Kirkuk, to pursue Islamic State militants and secure the areas from any insurgency attacks.
“The operations include searching and clearing the areas around the Rashad and Riyadh areas due to the increasing activities and movements of ISIS operatives in those areas,” local security sources confirmed.
In the past weeks, the provinces of Diyala, Kirkuk, and Salahuddin witnessed a series of terrorist insurgencies targeting security and Iraqi military sectors. The most violent attack occurred in the Mukeshefah sub-district of Salahuddin province on May 2 where over 10 members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) were killed.
Sleeper cells loyal to the organization have upped their activity in recent weeks, as a series of other crises have hit Iraq. Even though the terrorist group lost all of its territory in Iraq in late 2017, militants have continued their insurgent-style attacks.
Top Kurdistan Region officials and Peshmerga commanders have issued repeated warnings to both the Iraqi government and the international community that the Islamic State remains active and capable of reasserting itself and re-emerging in the disputed territories to continue its campaign of violence.
A “security vacuum,” as Kurdish officials have described it, has made the disputed areas in Diyala, Salahuddin, and Kirkuk more vulnerable to Islamic State attacks.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany