ISIS attacks village in Iraq's disputed Khanaqin, kills 2 civilians
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Members of the so-called Islamic State attacked a village located in Iraq’s disputed Khanaqin district late Thursday, killing two civilians and wounding two others, a security source told Kurdistan 24.
The incident occurred in the village of Gla, located within Diyala province. It is just one of the territories disputed by the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) that has seen increased terrorist attacks in recent months.
Killings and other insurgent-style operations have continued with regularity, notably in disputed areas, over two years after the Islamic State lost all its territorial claims in Iraq and Baghdad declared a final victory over the extremist organization.
In late January, a group of gunmen suspected to be an Islamic State sleeper cell set up a mock security checkpoint and abducted seven civilians to the west of Khanaqin and just south of the Kurdish run Garmiyan Administration. On Saturday, militants kidnapped two more people in a similar incident near the same area.
Days after the first abduction, senior Turkmen lawmaker Arshad al-Salihi said that the militant group had executed many of the abductees—whom he said were members of the Turkmen ethnic group.
The Garmiyan Administration is an unofficial province in the Kurdistan Region that includes the three districts of Kalar, Kifri, and Chamchamal. Regional Kurdish Peshmerga and Asayish forces are in charge of security in Garmiyan, while Iraqi national forces control territory to its south and west.
Kurdish officials have warned that the security vacuum in these areas created by the lack of coordination between the two forces offers extremist fighters the opportunity to regroup and stage attacks in nearby populated areas.
Editing by John J. Catherine