Fears are growing of the resurgence of ISIS militants’ presence in Kirkuk Province, which is located in northeastern Iraq.
In recent months, insurgency-style bombings and attacks across the province have increased, despite the official announcement of ISIS’ defeat across Iraq last December.
Furthermore, reports have emerged about ISIS militants refocusing efforts on their one-time stronghold Hawija, which was liberated in October 2017. Hawija was under ISIS control for over three years and was eventually liberated by the Iraqi Security Forces following a swift fight for the district.
In light of the growing threat of an ISIS insurgency, a joint military operation between the Popular Mobilisation Units (PMU) and the Federal Police was launched to clear the region of ISIS’ presence.
This includes of the so-called “White Flags,” a group of remnant ISIS militants and other extremist groups located around the Hamrin Mountains, which has targeted oil wells, security institutions and civilians numerous times in recent months.
Today, the PMU announced that seven ISIS militants, among them four suicide bombers, were killed in the village of Ramzeh near Hawija.
Operations like these highlight the persistent threat that ISIS still possesses in Iraq, despite its territorial defeat, and the ongoing improvements needed to ensure complete security across Iraq in the long-term.