Iraq: Six killed in attack attributed to Islamic State


Six people, three police officers and three teenagers, who went to put out a fire in a grain field, were killed on Monday by Islamic State (IS) jihadists, a local official said.

A police car that arrived at the scene of the attack, in Taza Khurmatou, was in turn targeted by fire and a bomb that was detonated as it passed, Hussein Adel, an official in the area south of Kirkuk, told AFP.

The IK “set fire” to agricultural land, explained Mr. Adel. “When police and citizens went to put out the fire, they were attacked by IK elements, who killed three police officers and three teenagers,” he added, explaining that another person – a citizen – is missing.

A source close to the security forces, for his part, spoke of “an attack committed by the IK against farmers who were harvesting their crops.”

The Iraqi authorities declared their “victory” over the IS at the end of 2017. But even after their military defeat, the jihadists continue to carry out deadly attacks in Iraq and neighboring Syria, on lands that have been devastated for years.

In recent years, jihadists have set fire to dozens of crops in both countries; claiming responsibility for their actions through their presence on social networking sites.

In 2019, more than 200 fires turned into some 50,000 acres of crops in northern Iraq. Some were attributed to the jihadists. Others were probably due to land disputes between landowners or tribes.

After three years of drought, with arable land halved, Iraqis are watching the grain harvest closely.

In Iraq, the ISIS “retains the ability to launch attacks at a steady pace,” a UN report that came to light in January acknowledged.

“Exploiting the porous border” Iraq-Syria, the jihadist organization still has “6,000 to 10,000 fighters in these two countries, forming nuclei and training (new) members,” according to the report.

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