Khanaqin villages join forces in the face of emerging Islamic State threats

January 12, 2019 at 4:35 pm

Diyala- Security forces stationed in Kobashi (25 km) south of Khanaqin, 2016 Photo: KirkukNow

KirkukNow- Diyala

Dozens of villages in the environs of Khanaqin, Diyala are adopting a joint self-defense strategy to confront threats of Islamic State militants operating in the area.

Villagers have decided to undertake security responsibilities and protect their areas in coordination with Iraqi security forces, after a series of terrorist attacks in the past weeks brought back fears that Islamic State (IS) militants could make a comeback.

“Due to the unstable security situation, more than 70 villages associated with Khanaqin district are now adopting a new strategy in participation of voluntary groups from all these villages”, Hoshyar Isma’il, member of the Diyala provincial council told (KirkukNow).

These armed groups have set up a joint plan to guard the territory and prevent infiltration of terrorists in coordination with the Iraqi security forces”, he added.

Some of the volunteers are actually members of the security forces who help protect against terror threats while they are off-duty

Hoshyar Isma’il indicated that some of the volunteers are actually members of the security forces who help protect the area against terror threats while they are off-duty.”

According to figures announced by security forces, IS militants attacked seven villages in Khanaqin in December 2018 inflicting casualties.

Samir Muhammad, head of the Khanaqin district council earlier said, “The residents of Khanaqin and their representatives in the district council are awaiting a political decision to restore stability to the area which witnessed a great deal of stability prior to the October 2017 events.”

Since 2003, security responsibility in Khanaqin was undertaken by Kurdistan regional government (KRG)-backed security forces until October 2017 when Iraqi federal government-backed forces returned to the territories disputed between Baghdad and Erbil.

Khanaqin is a disputed territory in Diyala province inhabited by a mixed make-up of Kurds, Arabs and Turkmen.

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