ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State militants late Saturday night launched an attack on a security checkpoint on the outskirt of the city of Khanaqin, injuring a number of security members, a police source asserted on Sunday.
The attack took place at the Malak Sha checkpoint, also known as the Bakhtyari checkpoint, located at the southwestern entrance of Khanaqin in Diyala province, the police source told Kurdistan 24 on condition of anonymity.
“Three security forces members and two policemen were wounded in the attack,” the source added.
The attack has sparked fear and panic among the people of Khanaqin as clashes occurred near the city and could be heard for over an hour by civilians, the source stressed.
Over the past few months, Islamic State militants have carried out insurgency attacks in villages far from the city, but have now gotten closer and closer to Khanaqin’s center, according to Jaafar Mustafa, the head of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) office in the city.
“In January alone, Da’esh [ISIS] carried out over 20 attacks in the region, and this is the second attack near Khanaqin in the last two days,” Mustafa said as he addressed local news outlets.
Iraq declared victory against the Islamic State in Dec. 2017, but the jihadist group continues to carry out insurgency attacks, ambushes, and kidnappings in several provinces, including Kirkuk, Nineveh, Anbar, Salahuddin, and Diyala.
“In the dark of night, the security situation in this area is out of control, and the current [Iraqi] forces in the area are incapable of neutralizing the threats… The situation is getting worse day by day, and the [Kurdish] Peshmerga forces need to be redeployed to eliminate the threats of terrorism,” Mustafa argued.
Recent reports have claimed that Erbil and Baghdad are attempting to reach an agreement to cooperate on the security file in disputed areas and for the Peshmerga to return. Officials, however, have stated no meetings has yet taken place on the matter.
Editing by Nadia Riva