Islamic State militants attack joint checkpoint, kill policeman in Iraq's Diyala

Islamic State (IS) militants carried out an assault on a security checkpoint near the city of Khanaqin on Saturday evening, killing a policeman, local sources said.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – Islamic State (IS) militants carried out an assault on a security checkpoint near the city of Khanaqin on Saturday evening, killing a policeman, local sources said.

“The attack took place at 9:30 pm local time targeting a joint security checkpoint of federal police and Iraqi army in Bawa Mahmoud area,” a security source told Kurdistan 24 on Sunday on condition of anonymity.

“The militants opened fire on the checkpoint using Kalashnikovs and sniper,” the source added.

The checkpoint is located outside Diyala Province's city of Khanaqin on the road to Kalar, located in the Kurdistan Region's province of Sulaimani.

One policeman was reported shot in the attack and later died of his wounds while receiving medical treatment at a hospital.

Following the initial clashes, an additional unit of police was sent to the scene to support those manning the checkpoint and encountered a roadside bomb set on the road approaching it. 

Khanaqin Council head Samir Mohammed told Kurdistan 24 that the bomb detonated as the police convoy passed, injuring several people.

The city of Khanaqin is one of the areas disputed by the federal government of Iraq and the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG). It is located some 140 kilometers northeast of Baghdad.

IS militant activity has increased considerably in the provinces of Diyala, Salahuddin, and Kirkuk, despite the victory over the group declared by Iraq in December of 2017. 

Editing by John J. Catherine