Iraqi Kurds hold 4,000 IS militants in Kurdistan region

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-07 03:24:29|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BAGHDAD, Feb. 6 (Xinhua) -- Authorities in Iraq's semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan said Tuesday that about 4,000 militants of Islamic State (IS), including foreigners, have been detained in the region.

"Since 2014, the (regional) security forces and the Peshmerga have detained some 2,500 IS members, and with start of the Hawijah operations, some 1,000 IS militants surrendered to the Kurdish forces," Kurdish official Dindar Zebari told a press conference in the Kurdish regional capital Erbil.

He also said that about 350 IS militants detained in the city of Kirkuk were transferred to prisons inside the Kurdish region when the Iraqi federal forces retook control of the oil-rich province of Kirkuk in mid-October.

"The names of all the prisoners have been sent to the United Nations' organizations as well as to the International Committee of the Red Cross," Zebari said.

Zebari said that there are some foreign militants among the detainees, without disclosing their number.

He said the central government in Baghdad had demanded the Kurdish authorities hand over the detainees, but adding that such move should be only taken under the supervision of the United Nations.

The Kurds played a significant role in the war against IS, which took control of large swathes of territory in western and northern Iraq in 2014, as well as areas in neighboring Syria.

On Dec. 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi, who is also the commander-in-chief of Iraqi forces, officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS after Iraqi forces recapturing all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

Abadi also sent his forces on Oct. 16 to retake the control of Kirkuk as well as key military sites and oilfields, in response to a controversial referendum on independence held by the Kurds in the Kurdish region in September.