ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State militants on Sunday attacked a village in the disputed province of Kirkuk and after an extended standoff, fled the area, a local source said.
“Da’esh [ISIS] militants assaulted Sayf Saad village,” Mohammed Omar, the head of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan (PUK) office in Qara Tapa, told Kurdistan 24. Qara Tapa is a sub-district in Kirkuk province where the village is located.
The gunmen fired multiple RPG rockets on the village, whose residents, in turn, resisted the attackers. The skirmish ended after a while with one villager injured and another missing, believed to have been kidnapped by the militants, Omar added.
Despite Iraq declaring “final victory” over the Islamic State in December 2017, the group continues to launch insurgency-style attacks, kidnappings, and ambushes in the disputed provinces of Kirkuk, Diyala, Nineveh, and Salahuddin as well as the Iraqi province of Anbar.
Kirkuk’s security remains precarious over a year after Iraqi troops and the Hashd al-Shaabi's assault on it and other disputed territories, pushing Kurdish Peshmerga forces from them.
Though recent steps have been taken to increase coordination between the two governments on security matters, a burgeoning partnership remains to be seen to provide a more stable environment for the citizens of the majority Kurdish but ethnically diverse province.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany