Conflict

ISIS are targeting political candidates in Iraq ahead of the elections

Iraq

With the nearing of the Iraqi Parliamentary Elections set to be held in a few days, ISIS have targeted candidates participating in the elections. The Iraqi government has declared that it has plans to secure the voting station for citizens.

After the defeat of ISIS in Mosul, the militant group has fallen back to an insurgency aimed at launching attacks throughout Iraq. The militant group is also using sleeper cells that are embedded in small pockets of the country.

Earlier this year, Abu Hassan al-Muhajir the spokesperson for the militant group issued a voice recording threatening those who will be participating in the 2018 Iraqi Parliamentary elections. The statement threatened both civilians going to the polls and also the candidates who have registered to run.

After the release of the statement, the Iraqi Interior Ministry announced additional security plans to guard and clear out the areas in and around polling stations.

Despite this, the militant group claimed on Monday that it had assassinated Farouq al-Jubouri in his home in Qayyarah south of Mosul. Al-Jubouri was a candidate with the Wataniyah Coalition headed by Iyad Allawi running in Nineveh Province. However, later that day, Iraqi officials issued an announcement, which stated that the militant group was not responsible for the attack. The officials stated that it was the candidate’s 18-year-old son who killed him after a financial dispute between them.

Another candidate, Ammar Kahiya, was assassinated in a car bombing claimed by ISIS in Kirkuk at the end of April. The candidate was running for the Iraqi Turkmen Front Party and had previously survived an assassination attempt a week earlier.

Since the start of the election campaigns on April 10, three other candidates have been killed, and 9 survived assassination attempts.

Despite these attacks, the security situation in Iraq has been gradually improving following Iraq’s victory over ISIS last December. A UNAMI report last month showed that civilian casualties were at an all-time low in the country.

Furthermore, Iraqis are hopeful about participating in the upcoming elections. This year’s election is the first election to be held after the public declaration of ISIS’ defeat last year.

Citizens in liberated areas have been showing their enthusiasm for the upcoming elections, which they believe will affect the future of their destroyed cities. Many are also hopeful that the issues such as corruption and the provision of basic services are tackled.