ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi security sources on Thursday said nine federal police, including four officers, were killed in two separate attacks that took place southwest of Kirkuk province.
One of the attacks was carried out late Wednesday on a federal police vehicle in the southwestern Kirkuk village of Riyadh. A second attack took place just a few hours later in the village of Rashad, about 20 kilometers southeast of the previous incident.
Both villages are part of Kirkuk’s Hawija district, an area formerly under the rule of the self-proclaimed Islamic State until its territorial collapse in Iraq in 2017. Since then, the terrorist group has continued to carry out an insurgency in the region.
The Iraqi security communications center, Security Media Cell (SMC), said in a statement that the attack in the village of Riyadh resulted in the deaths of four officers and another member of the federal police.
The statement did not provide further details, but a security source told Kurdistan 24 the attackers fired an RPG-7 on the police vehicle. Other reports suggested the attack was carried out by an improvised explosive device followed by gunfire.
Conflicting reports are common following such incidents as official authorities refrain from immediate comment.
In a statement published after the attack, Kirkuk province’s acting governor, Rakan Saeed, called for extensive security action against “terrorist hideouts,” which – believed to belong to the Islamic State – continue to riddle rural regions of northwestern and southern Kirkuk.
In a follow-up attack on early Thursday, unidentified gunmen assaulted a checkpoint of the federal police force near the town of Rashad. A security source told Kurdistan 24 four policemen were killed.
Although Iraq declared a military defeat against the Islamic State in December 2017, the terrorist group remains active especially in formerly liberated areas and even places it never controlled like the nation’s capital of Baghdad.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany