ISIS kidnaps 7 civilians at fake checkpoint in Kurdistan’s Garmiyan region
ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Members of an Islamic State sleeper cell abducted several civilians on Thursday at a fake security checkpoint they had set up on a road connecting two towns in the Kurdistan Region’s southern Garmiyan area.
Militants erected the mock outpost near the village of Qaryatakh in the Qara Tapa subdistrict, on the main road leading northward to Kifri.
Gunmen stopped multiple civilian vehicles and directed fire at passing cars, according to a source who spoke to Kurdistan 24. They then kidnaped a total of seven individuals, two of whom are from the disputed city of Khanaqin in Diyala Province, about 40 kilometers from the location of the incident. The rest are reportedly from Qara Tapa.
The fate of the abductees was not immediately clear, but the Islamic State has routinely held captives from rural areas for ransom, often killing them even after family members had followed their demands for large amounts of money. They have also carried out hundreds of bombings in different parts of the country as they continue to wage an insurgency following their territorial collapse in Iraq in December 2017.
The Garmiyan Administration is an unofficial province in the Kurdistan Region that includes the three districts of Kalar, Kifri, and Chamchamal, in territory disputed between Baghdad and Erbil. Regional Kurdish Peshmerga and Asayish forces are in charge of security in Garmiyan, while national Iraqi forces control the region to its south and west.
The latest incident occurred close to inhospitable terrain which the Islamic State continues to use as a base of operations.
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.
Late on Wednesday, gunmen from the organization launched an attack on an Iraqi army position in the southern outskirts of the disputed province of Kirkuk, close 80 kilometers northwest of Qara Tapa, killing at least two soldiers.
According to sources, violent clashes erupted between the terrorists and members of the Iraqi army.
Iraq’s Security Media Cell later confirmed the casualties in a statement, specifying that the Islamic State attack had targeted the fourth company of the first regiment of the 45th Army Brigade.
Editing by John J. Catherine