Abadi admits IS war not over, ready to cooperate with Kurdish forces in disputed areas
ERBIL, Kurdistan Region (Kurdistan 24) – Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday admitted the war against Islamic State (IS) extremists is ongoing, expressing his readiness to coordinate with the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) in the disputed territories.
In his weekly press briefing, Abadi said Iraqi forces continue their military operations against IS extremists in the liberated areas on a daily basis.
“We have defeated [IS extremists] militarily,” Abadi stated, adding that “I warned that we have to eliminate IS sleeper cells which are still active today.”
Asked about the possibility of coordinating with the KRG in the areas outside of the Kurdish government’s administration, Abadi said Baghdad “supports everything related to security and intelligence.”
He added that the Iraqi government would take any measures that brings stability to the citizens of the country.
Abadi revealed that the conflict between the Iraqi government and the KRG had created a security vacuum which IS extremists have exploited, emphasizing the importance of cooperation between all Iraqi security forces in the fight against the militant group.
“We are creating security cells under the leadership of the federal government’s Counter Terrorism Forces with the participation of security forces from the Kurdistan Region to fill the security vacuum,” Abadi noted.
Iraq announced victory over IS last December, three years after the fierce war against the extremist group began. However, IS has shown it is still capable of launching attacks in various parts of Iraq, with areas in and around Kirkuk being a prime target.
Peshmerga officials have repeatedly warned that IS militants are re-grouping in Kirkuk and other disputed territories, including Nineveh Province.
Editing by Karzan Sulaivany