Iraqi security personnel, civilians dead in ISIS ambush in Baghdad: police

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4 Hashed al-Shaabi members and 2 policemen died along with 3 civilians. (Representative)

Samarra, Iraq:

Six Iraqi security forces and three civilians were killed in an ambush on Saturday carried out by the Islamic State Group north of Baghdad, police and a local official said.

A police source told AFP that a roadside bomb hit a car and that jihadists opened fire on a rescue team made up of police and state-run paramilitary forces when they arrived at the scene, about 200 kilometers from the capital.

Four members of Hashed al-Shaabi and two police officers died along with three civilians, Mohammed Zidane, the mayor of Zouiya, 50 kilometers from the city of Tikrit, told AFP.

He updated a previous civilian death toll of two.

There was no immediate word about victims among the attackers, but Zidane said those killed under the Hashed, a coalition of mainly Shiite forces, were Sunni tribesmen.

Both the mayor and police said the ambush was the work of Islamic State (ISIS) jihadists, although no direct claim to responsibility was made.

Eleven people were killed on November 8 in an ISIS attack on a lookout post in Al-Radwaniyah near Baghdad airport on the outskirts of the capital.

ISIS conquered a third of Iraq in 2014, captured major cities in the north and west, and reached the suburbs of the capital.

After a fierce three-year battle backed by a US-led military coalition, Iraq declared ISIS defeated in late 2017.

The coalition withdrew its troops considerably this year.

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The IS sleeping cells continued to attack security forces and state infrastructure, especially in desert areas where troops are thin.

However, attacks with high tolls and near the capital were rare.

The latest attacks came when the United States announced it would withdraw 500 more soldiers, reducing the deployment to 2,500 soldiers.

Most of the other countries contributing to the coalition have withdrawn since the coronavirus pandemic broke out.

However, the Iraqi government has “made it clear that it intends to maintain its partnership with the United States and coalition forces while we continue to end the fight against ISIS,” the US Middle East commander said Thursday, using a different acronym for the jihadist group.

General Kenneth McKenzie cited estimates that ISIS still has 10,000 supporters in the Iraq-Syria region and remains a real threat.

“The progress of the Iraqi security forces has enabled the United States to reduce the hold of the armed forces in Iraq,” he said.

But US and coalition forces need to stay to prevent ISIS from forming a cohesive group capable of planning larger attacks, he said.

(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)

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