ISIS has killed 170 Iraqi civilians, security forces so far in 2020: Military
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On late Tuesday evening, Iraq's Ministry of Defense announced that 170 people, either civilians or security personnel, have been killed by Islamic State militants across the country since the beginning of 2020.
"The number of Iraqi security forces killed during this period reached 88 individuals while another 174 members were wounded,” read a statement by the military communications center known as the Iraqi Security Media Cell, adding that the number of “civilian casualties reached 82 deaths and 120 wounded individuals."
According to the statement, the Iraqi forces carried out 1,060 security operations during the same time period, killing 135 Islamic State fighters, destroying 279 hideouts and tunnels, as well as seizing and disposing of large numbers of explosives, rockets, and suicide vests.
Iraqi security operation against Islamic State remnants intensified in recent weeks, as hardly a day has passed without new bombings, shootings, or other attacks targeting rural populations and various security forces in multiple provinces.
At least three new attacks suspected to have been carried out by the extremist group on Tuesday targeted civilians and Iraqi security forces in multiple provinces, mostly in the country’s central areas that have seen a recent increase in such incidents.
In one of the incidents, a roadside improvised explosive device (IED) blew up under an army vehicle in the vicinity of the Um Hanta village in Diyala province, killing two soldiers, local security sources said. The incident occurred just four kilometers south of the town of Kulajo, close to where multiple attacks claimed by the Islamic State have lately taken place.
The uptick in the terrorist group’s maneuvers indicates its ability to exploit a series of crises currently plaguing Iraq, not least of which is an ongoing security gap most apparent in territories disputed between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the federal Iraqi government.
The Islamic State appears to have effectively reorganized its ranks to plan and escalate the violence it has been waging across vulnerable parts of the country. Most of the group's attacks take place in areas near cities and towns it once controlled before its territorial collapse in 2017 at the hands of Iraqi and Peshmerga forces, backed by Coalition airpower.
Editing by John J. Catherine