Four ISIS attacks in central Iraqi province of Diyala injure 11

Eleven members of the Iraqi security forces were injured on Saturday in two separate attacks by the so-called Islamic State in the central province of Diyala.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Nine members of the Iraqi security forces and two civilians were injured on Saturday in four separate attacks by the so-called Islamic State in the central province of Diyala. 

According to a statement released by the Iraqi army, an explosion at a residence led to the injury of six soldiers in the Khaylania neighborhood of Miqdadiya, located 110 kilometers (about 70 miles) northeast of Baghdad. According to a local security source who spoke to Kurdistan 24, the blast appeared to target troops engaged in a military operation to search out remnants of the extremist group.

A second explosion in Diyala wounded a member of the federal police. 

Later in the day in the provincial capital of Baquba, Islamic State gunmen opened fire at a security checkpoint, wounding two more soldiers, and then an improvised explosive device (IED) placed on a parked motorcycle in the village of Kanaan village injured two civilians.   

Also on Saturday in Iraqi federal police sources confirmed that their forces had repelled an attack by Islamic State militants in the Baiji Desert, west of Diyala in neighboring Salahuddin province.

On Tuesday, the Iraqi army announced that two fighters from the Yezidi (Ezidi) Protection Units militia group were killed and another five injured when an IED detonated during a joint security operation outside Sinjar (Shingal). The Islamic State later claimed responsibility for the incident.

Read More: 2 Yezidi fighters killed in blast during ISIS operation near Sinjar Mountain

Amid an increase in the organization's activity in the area, the Iraqi army launched simultaneous operations backed by aerial strikes in efforts to hunt down its militants in Diyala, Kirkuk, and Anbar provinces.

Islamic State sleeper cells continue to carry out attacks across Iraq over two years after Baghdad declared a military victory over the group in late 2017.

The group appears to be reorganizing its ranks in territories disputed by the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), and the federal government, taking advantage of the security vacuum in areas between those controlled by Kurdish Peshmerga and Iraqi forces. Kurdish officials have repeatedly stressed the necessity of cooperation between the regional and national governments' forces to protect civilians living there.

Over the past few months, the coronavirus outbreak has presented a new challenge to the Iraqi government, providing an opportunity for Islamic State fighters to exploit the need for security forces to boost their presence at security checkpoints to enforce curfews around the country.

Editing by John J. Catherine