Four armed attacks within five days in Khanaqin

Diyala, June 2020 – a commando unit in the town of Khanaqin – Photo by Amir Khanaqini

Ameer Khanaqini - Diyala

Five armed attacks were recorded in the villages of Khanaqin district within only four days, despite the fact that a military operation launched by Iraqi forces in the area less than a month ago.

At half past eight in the evening of Thursday (6 August 2020), gunmen attacked Iraqi army units in the village of Gabiya in the Gilay area, northwest of Khanaqin.

According to a source in the Army Commando Brigade, who told Kirkuk Now that “the attack resulted in the death of one soldier and wounding three others," the gunmen were ISIS militants.

The units that were attacked belonged to the first regiment of the Commando Brigade of the Diyala Province Operations.

According to a resident from the area, on the same night mortars fell in the centre of the village of Shirk, and bullets hit some houses.

The First Regiment of the Army Commando Brigade are stationed in the areas west of Khanaqin and north of Jalawla, which falls on the dividing line between Peshmerga force and Federal Government Forces.

On the night of Wednesday (5 August), gunmen launched an attack targeting the village of Um-Hunta, north of Jalawla, without leaving any casualties.

On 29 July, the First Regiment of the Commando Brigade was attacked in the village of Qaya in the Gilay area, and one soldier was killed.

On the same day (29 July), a mortar hit the village of Islah in Jalawla subdistrict and left a woman with minor injuries.

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Diyala, June 2020 – PMU units during the Operation Heores of Iraq – Photo from PMU 1st Brigade PR office

These attacks come after Iraqi military commanders have stated that they have been able to weaken the capabilities of ISIS in the wake of the recent military operation in the disputed areas, especially in the district of Khanaqin, northeast of Diyala province.

Jawad Dawudi, Shirk’s former commissioner, told Kirkuk Now: "After the events of 16 October 2017, until today, 32 families from the village of Shirk have been displaced."

210 Kurdish and Arab families live in Shirk.

In the last meeting between a delegation of the Peshmerga and Iraqi army officials at the end of July, it was agreed to set up a joint operation room in order to fill the security gaps between the Federal Government forces and Peshmerga positions.

A source from the Peshmerga forces, who is involved in the formation of the operation room, told KirkukNow: “The formation process of the Joint Operation Room in Diyala does not face any problem. The issue is in Kirkuk, that’s why no agreement between the Ministry of Peshmerga and the Ministry of Defence has been reached on determining the opening date.”

The two ministries decided to establish four joint coordination centres in Kirkuk province and other disputed areas.

KirkukNow reporter has learned that the Peshmerga forces have been spread along the edges of the areas they control, from Khanaqin district to Qaratapa, in order to coordinate with the Federal Government Forces in filling the security vacuum.

Since the beginning of the year, several areas of Khanaqin district witnessed a series of acts of violence, including armed attacks that targeted villagers resulting in the death and injury of a number of them, in addition to material damage.

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