Acting governor of Kirkuk admits that threats posed by the Islamic militants have escalated due to the security vacuum between Iraqi and Kurdish forces in the province of Kirkuk.
Rakan al-Jiburi, acting governor of the oil rich city, an Arab, told the media in the festival of spring shopping in Kirkuk on Sunday that the gap “ranges from 5-10 km in some areas.
The comments following the attack by militants of the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and Syria against bases of the Peshemerra (Kurdish fighter) forces on Sunday early in the morning in the district of Altun Kopri, northwest of Kirkuk.
Three Peshmerga were killed and two were injured in the clashes that lasted for 40 minutes, security officials said.
“Such a gap is a chance for Deash to attack Iraqi and Peshmerga forces in a day,” he added. Al-Jiburi called for military and security cooperation and coordination between Baghdad and Erbil.
“Such a gap is a chance for Deash to attack Iraqi and Peshmerga forces in a day,”
“If these gaps are covered, no security issues to be worried about.”
Following the military defeat of ISIS in 2017, discord over security arrangements, public services, and the lack of a unified administration in the disputed territories, have plagued victims and survivors.
Currently, Kirkuk is under control of Baghdad with local police downtown while Iraqi army and pro-Shiite militia Popular Mobilization Forces PMF known as Hashid aal-Sha’abi deployed at the outskirts.
ISIS remnants are recently regrouping in the rural areas of the disputed territories and launching attacks against Iraqi army, the Peshmerga and the civilians in these regions.
Senior officials of Kurdistan region called on Iraqi government and the US-led Coalition to deploy joint forces in the areas left deserted between Iraqi and Kurdish forces since October 2017, when Iraqi army retook control of the disputed territories run by the Kurds since fall of Saddam regime in 2003.
Al-Jiburi said Kirkuk was the last region to be cleared from ISIS militants “who are still hiding in town and have not been eliminated.”
Kirkuk was the last region to be cleared from ISIS militants who are still hiding in town and have not been eliminated
Iraqi ministry of defense and Kurdish ministry of Peshmerga following months of meetings have failed to make a deal about six joint operation commands in Baghdad, Erbil, Kirkuk, Makhmour, Diyala and Mosul.
End of April, Kurdish minister of Peshmerga called on Iraqi minister to interfere and sort the joint operation command issue between Baghdad and Erbil.
The call followed the bombing the relatively stable town of Kifri, in the disputed territories on April 18, where a civilian was injured.
Following escalation of ISIS attacks in the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil leaving tens of casualties among Iraqi forces and civilians and causing damage to the houses and farms of the villagers, in retaliation a wide range of operations were launched by Iraqi troops in Khanaqin, Daquq and Makhmour disputed territories.
On Thursday, suicide bomber was shot dead by security forces in Kirkuk when a militant wearing explosive belt was trying to enter National Security Agency office in Kirkuk. A suicide bomber was arrested in a military checkpoint and the hunt for the three others are ongoing, a commander of National security in Kirkuk said.
Iraqi army, federal police, Pro-Shiite Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, Brigade 61 Special forces and local police are represented in the Joint Operation Command of Kirkuk which is in charge od the security of the province.