Islamic State group gunmen kill 9 Iraqi law enforcement officials

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Islamic State group jihadists stated Sunday that they had carried out an assault in northern Iraq killing 9 law enforcement officials, setting off a roadside bomb earlier than machine-gunning survivors.

The assault within the Kirkuk space — which police stated left 9 federal officers useless — is likely one of the deadliest in Iraq in current months.

IS fighters attacked “a police patrol… detonated an explosive device then attacked them with machine guns and hand grenades,” the group stated in a press release on the Telegram messaging app.

A federal police officer, talking to AFP on situation of anonymity, stated the bomb blast hit a automobile transporting members of Iraq’s federal police near the village of Shalal al-Matar.

It was then adopted by “a direct attack with small arms”, the officer added.

“An assailant has been killed, and we are looking for the others,” the officer stated.

IS jihadists seized giant swathes of Iraqi and Syrian territory in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” the place they dominated with brutality earlier than their defeat in late 2017 by Iraqi forces backed by a US-led navy coalition.

IS misplaced its final Syrian bastion, near the Iraqi border, in 2019.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani condemned the violence as a “cowardly terrorist attack”.

Security forces ought to present “vigilance, carefully inspect the roads and not provide any opportunity for terrorist elements”, he stated.

– Sleeper cells –

The US-led anti-IS coalition continued a fight position in Iraq till December final yr, however roughly 2,500 American troopers stay within the nation to help within the combat towards the jihadists.

IS cells, nonetheless, stay energetic in a number of areas of Iraq.

On Wednesday, three Iraqi troopers have been killed and three others wounded when a bomb exploded as their patrol automobile handed via farmland in Tarmiya, a rural municipality about 30 kilometres (20 miles) north of the capital Baghdad that could be a identified hotspot for IS sleeper cells.

Last month a machine gun assault on a distant northern Iraqi navy publish killed 4 troopers near Kirkuk, a navy supply stated. There was no rapid declare of accountability.

Iraqi safety forces proceed to hold out counter-terrorism operations towards the group, and the deaths of IS fighters in airstrikes and raids are frequently introduced.

Despite the setbacks, which has left IS a shadow of its former self, the group has “maintained its ability to launch attacks at a steady pace”, a January report by the United Nations learn.

The UN estimates the jihadist organisation maintains between 6,000 and 10,000 fighters inside Iraq and Syria, exploiting the porous border between the 2 international locations and concentrating primarily in rural areas.

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