Security checkpoints assigned to local police

Efforts to thwart attack on Kirkuk's temporary detention center

Kirkuk, January 25, 2022: A temporary checkpoint for the Iraqi security forces downtown. Police Media of Kirkuk Police Command

By Goran Baban in Kirkuk

The local police in Kirkuk were assigned to undertake all the controls and security checkpoints in town, which the security forces have installed since last week, amid intelligence reports about a probable attack against Kirkuk detention center, Kirkuk police said.

The security forces have deployed security checkpoints and controls in a number of areas of the city of Kirkuk, after receiving intelligence information with the intention of armed groups to target Kirkuk detention prison (Tasfirat), according to what the spokesman for the Kirkuk Police Command.

"Intelligence reports were received about intentions for a possible attack Kirkuk detention prison, but we assure the citizens that detention prison is not an easy matter," Lt. Col. Amer Shwani, revealed to KirkukNow.

"The security forces are continuing their duties to preserve the safety of the citizens of Kirkuk, and in this context, several joint checkpoints have been set up for the police and other Iraqi forces as a security measure taken by the Kirkuk Police Command," he added.

All temporary checkpoints are scheduled to be handed over on Monday, 7 February, to the local police.

The building of Kirkuk detention prison is located inside Kirkuk International Airport, and two police regiments, in addition to the Iraqi forces, are currently in charge of protecting the prison.

"We reassure people they are safe, and the security belt in the vicinity of Kirkuk's detention prison is very tight," Lt. Col. Amer Shwani concluded.

We reassure people they are safe, and the security belt in the vicinity of Kirkuk's detention prison is very tight

"In previous years, ISIS tried to seize the prison, but all their attempts failed," Shwani added.

The spokesman for the Kirkuk Police Command declared in 2016, ISIS militants launched a large-scale attack on the city of Kirkuk by 170 gunmen, and according to intelligence information, their main goal was to reach detention prison, but they failed in that and a big number of them were killed or fled towards Hawija District, south of Kirkuk.

The militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria ISIS took control of Hawija district and the districts of Al-Zab, Riyadh, Al-Rashad, Al-Abbasi and Al-Multaqa in June 2014, and these areas remained under the control of ISIS up to late 2017, before being recaptured by the Iraqi forces.

During that period, dozens of members of the organization were arrested by the Iraqi forces, and some of them are still detained in Kirkuk prisons, including Kirkuk detention prison.

As ISIS sleeper-cells are regrouping and targeting Iraqi forces and civilians in the rural areas in Kirkuk, Diyalah and Mosul, the Iraqi forces are carrying out wide range, long-term operations to eleminate thier hideouts.

Following the military defeat of ISIS, discord over security arrangements, public services, and the lack of a unified administration in the disputed territories, have plagued victims and survivors.

The oil rich city of Kirkuk, Iraq's second largest oil reserves, is ethnically a mixed province of 1.7 million Kurds, Sunni and Shiite Arabs, and Turkmens. It has long been at the center of disputes between the federal government in Baghdad and the autonomous Kurdistan Regional Government KRG.

Kirkuk, 238 kilometers north of Baghdad, is the center of the disputed territories of Iraq that runs from Shingal in Nineveh province on the Syrian border southeast to Khanaqin and Mandali on the Iranian border. 

Currently, Iraqi army, local and federal police, Brigade 61 of Special Forces along with Shiite paramilitary of Popular Mobilization Forces PMF, are under Kirkuk joint operations’ command, an umbrella for the security forces running the security of Kirkuk province. 

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