Khanaqin Residents Face Potential Terror Threats

September 11, 2018 at 10:36 am

Security forces stationed in the center of Khanaqin, Diyala Photo by Hware Azad

Hawre Azad- Diyala

 

Despite the presence of Kurdish Peshmargas and five other different Iraqi forces, dozens of families in the villages of disputed territory of Khanaqin in Diyala province have fled their homes seeking shelter in the Kurdistan Region.

Since the beginning of this year, numerous terrorist acts have been recorded in and around the town of Khanaqin, in spite of ongoing military operations in the area.

A journalistic inquiry by (Kirkuk Now) has revealed that during June and July 2017 six roadside bomb attacks have taken place in the town, resulting in 12 casualties. Meanwhile four beheaded bodies were found on September 9 in a village near Khanaqin.

Six different forces are stationed in and around Khanaqin consisted of Kurdish Peshmargas, the federal police, Hashd al-Sha’bi (Popular Mobilization Forces), Kurdistan Region security forces, as well as Iraqi police.

 

ISIS Terrorist activities  

Although, Iraq declared final victory over last year, terrorist acts have increased in recent months, and security forces put the blame on remnants of ISIS.

“ISIS personnel movement has increased in Tabaj and Naftkhana south of Kahanaqin”,  Salar Nsaif, a commander of the Hashd al-Sha’bi (Popular Mobilization Forces) told (Kirkuk Now).

Most of the terrorist acts in the recent months were roadside bomb attacks and kidnapping of civilians.

Salar Nsaif said “ ISIS has sleeper cells in the Arab-populated areas, who provide shelter and assistance to the group, as a result ISIS has managed to find a haven especially in the villages located south of Khanaqin”.

 

More Families fleeing Khanaqin

 

The security instability has forced dozens of families to leave their homes in fear of their lives seeking shelter in the Kurdistan Region.

Samir Muhammad, head of the Khanaqin District Council confirms that “due to the unstable security situation in Khanaqin dozens of families have fled their villages”.

“Most of the terrorist attacks are targeting the Kurdish community of Khanaqin”, he said.

 

(Kirkuk Now) has learned that a small force of Kurdish Peshmargas has returned to the area.

Irfan Hamakhan, deputy commander of the Peshmarga 3rd infantry Division said “After last year’s October 16th events we pulled our forces out of Khanaqin and the Garmaser area, but since March of this year the Peshmarga 3rd infantry Division has been redeployed in the villages of Daka, Kani Masi and other villges located beween Khanaqin and Kalar”.

Disputes between Baghdad and Erbil reached its peak after the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) held a non-binding independence referendum in September last year.

On October 16, 2017 Iraqi army forces launched a military operation to take over disputed territories, forcing Kurdish Peshmarga forces to pull out.

Brigadier general Hamid Irfan Hamakhan noted that several rounds of high-level meetings have been held between Iraqi and Kurdistan Region officials but they were fruitless”.

He stressed the need for more talks between Iraqi defence ministry and KRG ministry of Peshmarga officials to embrace a decision to return Peshmarga forces to the area.

Khanaqin, located north of Diyala province is a disputed territory predominantly populated by Kurds along with the Arab and Turkmen components.

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