ISIS gunmen wound 5 Iraqi security forces as Diyala attacks continue
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Five Iraqi soldiers and police officers were wounded in Islamic State attacks in the vicinity of the disputed district of Khanaqin, located in Diyala province, security sources reported Saturday.
This marks the second late-night terrorist incident in the past two days amid a recent uptick in Islamic State activity in the region, near a patch of territory that stretches between land secured by Iraqi forces and land protected by the Kurdistan Region’s Peshmerga fighters.
This district is a part of territories disputed between the Iraqi federal government and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG).
The latest incident occurred in Jalawla subdistrict when Islamic State gunmen attacked an Iraqi Army unit. One source told Kurdistan 24 that clashes erupted in the wake of the attack in the Awsaj region, located between the city of Khanaqin and Jalawla in Diyala.
The source added that the attack wounded two army officers and three members of the federal police but could not specify casualty numbers on the attackers’ side.
The Iraqi Air Force carried out a surveillance operation of the area which ended up as one of the fiercest confrontations between Islamic State sleeper cells the security forces in recent memory.
Over the past week, there have been multiple terrorist attacks in the Garmiyan region that led to six deaths among Kurdish fighters, prompting, On Friday, the Peshmerga forces to deploy further reinforcements to northern parts of Diyala Province.
While visiting Peshmerga bases in the area, Kurdistan Region Vice President Jaafar Sheikh Mustafa reiterated that the Islamic State remains a threat and affirmed the need for an ongoing campaign to fill a security void between Kurdish and Iraqi forces.
“Military reinforcements were deployed to the region to fill a void and prevent Da’esh attacks,” Mustafa added, noting that the terrorist organization “has reorganized its ranks and adopted guerrilla-style fighting tactics.”
President Nechirvan Barzani, on Thursday, called on relevant authorities “to intensify efforts” and resolve “the crisis in Iraq to restore stability.” The attack on Peshmerga “proves the fact that ISIS is not over and remains a threat to security and stability, and that the war to eliminate the enemy of humanity is ongoing,” President Barzani stated.
Editing by John J. Catherine