A police officer and his driver were shot dead in Kirkuk on their way back from duty early hours of January 18, in the area of Jabal Bor, east of Kirkuk, near the ring street at the outskirts of Kirkuk city, according to an intelligence source in the police.
"The officer and his driver were shot dead at 12:45 am today when they went to the last police checkpoint and returned on the way," the source told KirkukNow on the condition of anonymity.
"A number of gunmen ambushed and opened fire on them, killing Lieutenant Nazwad Hassan and his driver, Mohammed Pasha Jassim.”
Lately, the attacks targeting the Iraqi army and police by roadside bombs has remarkably increased in the disputed territories, pushing the Iraqi government to review its measures.
On December 21st, an intelligence officer and two soldiers were killed, two others were injured when a roadside bomb hit a convoy of the Iraqi army on Wednesday at night in Garaw area of Sargaran sub-district of Dubiz district.
A number of gunmen ambushed them and opened fire
According to police investigations, the militants opened fire with an M4 weapon, which "is in the hands of Daesh (ISIS) fighters, so there are doubts that Daesh committed the act, but the investigation is still ongoing to find out who is behind the incident.”
The police checkpoints are responsible for protecting the oil pipelines belonging to the state-run Northern Oil Company. The area is only four kilometers from the city.
General Kawa Gharib, the chief of Kirkuk police, went to the scene and said: "We are looking for the criminal terrorists to take just revenge for our martyrs.”
Sleeper cells and resistant pockets of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria ISIS are regrouping in the rural areas of the disputed territories between Baghdad and Erbil where neither the Iraqi Security Forces ISF nor those of the semi-autonomous Iraqi Kurdistan Region IKR are deployed.
They are posing a high threat by different tactics such as hit-and-run attacks, kidnappings, snipers, IED and roadside bombs targeting the Iraqi forces and civilians.
On Sunday, a bomb planted in a convoy of federal police killed an officer and eight federal policemen near Riyadh district in southern Kirkuk towards the Hamrin mountain range.
After the incident, Lieutenant Yahya Rassoul, spokesman for the Iraqi armed forces, stressed the Prime Minister and general commander of armed forces has ordered the formation of a committee to investigate and expel those involved in the act.
The area was under the control of the IS militants between June 2014 up to October 2017 when the Iraqi government declared victory over ISIS and the Iraqi Security Forces ISF launched imposing law operation, ousting the Kurdish Peshmerga from the disputed territories.
Though the Iraqi government declare defeat of IS in Iraq back in 2017 yet due to its geographical location, the area has always been a safe haven for the remnants and sleeper cells of IS whom target ISF and civilians.