ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – A group of Islamic State members attacked an Iraqi federal police outpost outside a village south of the city of Kirkuk on early Monday, killing two members and injuring two more, a local security source said.
Islamic State members assaulted an outpost located outside the Ali Sarai village – the residents of which are members of the Kakaki minority group – located to the south of Kirkuk province’s Daquq District, one local source told Kurdistan 24.
A security source asserted, when speaking to Kurdistan 24, that the attackers are part of the terrorist organization’s sleeper cells that are based in the western part of Kirkuk in rural parts of Hawija District.
The camp that was attacked was controlled by the Peshmerga forces before Iraqi troops along with Iran-backed Hashd al-Shaabi militias in October 2017 overran Kirkuk in response to the Kurdistan Region’s independence referendum and forced the retreat of the Kurdish units.
Later that year, Baghdad proclaimed a “final victory” over the Islamic State. However, since then, sporadic insurgency-style attacks have continued in areas the group once controlled in Iraq and have even been able to reach cities and towns they never held during their territorial reign.
On Sunday, the federal police announced they had rescued two individuals who were recently kidnapped by the terror group in Zghitoun valley, which is also located in Kirkuk and is about 40 kilometers from the Monday attack.
On Friday, Iraqi security forces announced the conclusion to an operation that was part of the latest effort to engage members of the extremist group after the military claimed success in clearing areas north and west of Baghdad in two previous military operations.
According to Iraq’s Joint Operations Command, the campaign targeted areas located north of Miqdadiya district in Diyala province, as well as north of Jalawla and Khanaqin, most of which are disputed territories between the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) and the Federal Government of Iraq.
As Islamic State sleeper cells engage in an insurgency war in said areas, a KRG minister on Sunday called for increased cooperation between Erbil and Baghdad.
“The reality here, and the overall security situation, requires that we and the Iraqi army maintain a strong relationship to fill and control the existing security vacuums together and prevent terrorists from making a resurgence,” Minister of Peshmerga, Shorish Ismael, told Kurdistan 24.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany