ISIS continues bloody attacks through much of Iraq during holy month of Ramadan

A group of ISIS fighters attacked Mubarak village in the disputed Iraqi district of Khanaqin in Diyala province.

ERBIL (Kurdistan 24) – On Thursday night, the so-called Islamic State launched a new series of attacks, targeting villages and districts in Kirkuk and Salahuddin provinces in northern Iraq; Diyala province in central Iraq; as well as Babil province, south of Baghdad.

The attacks come at a time when the self-proclaimed Islamic State has accelerated its hit-and-run assaults, signaling its resurgence following the territorial defeat of the terrorist group—proclaimed nearly three years ago, in late 2017, by Iraq’s then prime minister, Haider al-Abadi.

Abadi would go on to lose the Iraqi elections the following year, while the Islamic State would return. To knowledgeable observers, it is highly ironic that a group claiming Muslim credentials would continue its vicious assaults through the month of Ramadan, which is supposed to be a sacred time, marking the revelation of the Koran to the prophet Mohammed and dedicated to fasting and prayer.

Yet the terrorist group has, nonetheless, continued its murderous attacks, including on civilians.

A group of ISIS fighters attacked Mubarak village in the disputed Iraqi district of Khanaqin in Diyala province, where they targeted a Kurdish household, an informed source told Kurdistan 24. In the fighting, one villager was killed and another villager was critically injured, as they responded to the terrorist assault, the source explained.

On Monday, in the Kurdish village of Mekhas in the Khanaqin district of Diyala province, two Kurdish farmers were abducted and later killed by the Islamic State. The villagers of Mekhas belong to a small, religious minority: the Kakai, who are predominantly Kurds.

Read More: Two abducted Kurdish Kakai farmers found killed in Khanaqin

In addition, an Improvised Explosive Device (IED) exploded on a convoy of the Iraqi army and Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), as they headed toward the village.

In parallel, an IED targeted a commando force of the Baghdad Operations Command in the Tarmiyah district of Salahuddin province, leaving one dead and four wounded, as the Iraqi Security Media Cell explained in a tweet.

Another attack occurred on Thursday night, when fighters from the Islamic State targeted a group of PMF forces in the town of Jurf al-Sakhar in Babil province, killing a PMF fighter.

Jurf al-Sakhar lies in the so-called “Sunni belt,” where Saddam Hussein settled Sunni Arabs, changing the area’s demography to create a zone of loyalists in order to separate Baghdad from the restive Shi’a south.

The Islamic State took Jurf al-Sakhr in 2014, in the early days of its assault on Iraq. Many Sunni Arabs saw the terrorist group as a preferable alternative to the sectarian regime in Baghdad, so it was not that difficult for the terrorist group to gain control of the town.

Top Kurdistan Region officials and Peshmerga commanders have repeatedly warned the international community, as well as the Iraqi government, that the Islamic State remains active and capable of reasserting itself to resume its campaign of violence and threaten Iraq, as well as countries beyond it.

KRG officials routinely refer to the “security vacuum” that has left the disputed areas in Diyala, Salahuddin, and Kirkuk provinces particularly vulnerable to continued acts of terrorism.

Editing by Laurie Mylroie