12/20/2022, 20.16
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IS carries out attacks in Kirkuk and Anbar, killing 17

The jihadi group is back, striking twice in 24 hours. in Kirkuk, nine policemen were killed yesterday; eight people were killed today in Anbar province. Local tribes tried to repel IS’s attack, some with their bare hands. Small cells and lone wolves carry out opportunistic attacks.

Baghdad (AsiaNews) – The Islamic State (IS) group has struck again in Iraq with violence and intensity not seen in some time. Over the past two days, it launched a series of attacks, reversing a recent decline.

This morning alone, at least eight people were killed in Anbar province, in the west of the country, which has a Sunni majority. Their deaths are added to nine policemen killed yesterday in a blast in Kirkuk governorate also claimed by the Islamic caliphate.

More than eight years after its rise in the summer of 2014, when it seized large swathes of Syria and Iraq, the wounds caused by its violence and brutality are still open.

Today the Islamic State group controls but a small area straddling the two countries, one that is becoming increasingly smaller following the advance of regular Syrian and Iraqi troops.

Despite its military defeat, it remains a threat. Its ideology is alive and well, and whether through lone wolves or independent cells, it can still strike.

In the attack in Anbar, northwest of Fallujah, villagers tried to face down IS fighters who arrived on motorcycles, but were quickly overwhelmed.

Uday al-Khadran, an official in the town of al-Khalis where the attack took place, said that dozens of residents confronted the jihadis, some with their bare hands. Once informed, the authorities launched a massive manhunt in an attempt to catch the terrorists.

The attacks in Anbar, local sources note, focus on people the Islamic State deems pro-government. Many of the local Sunni tribes are armed and have launched their own military campaign, together with the security forces, to eradicate IS’s still active cells.

Analysts and experts confirm that small groups or individuals move through the desert and dirt roads to strike suddenly and conduct opportunistic attacks.

Although local hostility is directed primarily at the Islamic State, the presence of pro-Iranian militias is also raising tensions in the region.

Meanwhile, three Iraqi soldiers were killed last week in the explosion during an operation by security forces in Tarmiyah, a district north of Baghdad. While no one has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, all fingers point to the Islamic State.

For its part, the Chaldean Church began three days of fast and prayer for peace until Christmas Eve. Given in the growing tensions and escalating attacks, this is a timely plea.

For Mgr Basel Yaldo, Chaldean Auxiliary Bishop of Baghdad, “the situation in Iraq and the world is critical; we need stability with the new government.”

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