Iraqi police and government sources told AFP that at least seven federal police officers were killed on Sunday in an attack near Kirkuk in the country’s north, where jihadists from the defunct Islamic State group are still active.
A bomb went off in the direction of the truck carrying the men. A federal police officer who spoke to AFP on the condition of anonymity and attributed the strike to IS said it was followed by “a direct attack with small arms” near the village of Chalal al-Matar.
A group has not yet come out to claim responsibility for the attack.
The officer reported that one attacker was dead and two police officers had been injured.
An official from Iraq’s Ministry of Interior in Baghdad has confirmed the attack, stating that seven police officers and other law enforcement personnel were murdered.
In 2014, IS seized vast swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, where they brutally ruled as a self-proclaimed “caliphate” until their fall in late 2017 at the hands of Iraqi forces backed by a US-led military coalition.
IS’s last stronghold in Syria was destroyed in 2019, not far from the Iraqi border.
Combat operations by the US-led coalition against IS continued in Iraq until December last year, and about 2,500 American soldiers are still stationed there as trainers.
Despite this, remnants of IS are still a threat in various regions of Iraq.
Security forces in Baghdad have not stopped their anti-IS counterterrorism operations, and they regularly report on the fatalities of IS fighters killed in bombings and ground incursions.
A UN analysis from earlier this year stated that despite the defeats that have left IS a ghost of its former self, the group can still draw on an underground network of 6,000 and 10,000 members to carry out assaults on both sides of the porous Iraqi-Syrian border.
On Wednesday, a roadside bomb north of Baghdad killed three Iraqi soldiers, the defence ministry reported.
The incident occurred in a notorious IS stronghold, although no one has claimed responsibility.
According to a military source, four Iraqi troops were killed in an attack with machine guns on a remote northern Iraqi military base near Kirkuk last month. To my knowledge, no one has immediately claimed credit.
IS claimed responsibility for a twin suicide strike in a Baghdad market that month, the first such attack in the capital in over three years. The attack occurred in January 2021 and resulted in the deaths of 32 persons.