Paramilitary Hashd Shaabi fighters foil suicide attack in Iraq's Kirkuk

Source: Xinhua| 2018-02-25 15:51:59|Editor: Shi Yinglun
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KIRKUK, Iraq, Feb. 25 (Xinhua) -- The paramilitary fighters of Hashd Shaabi foiled Sunday an attack by a suicide bomber in the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, security sources said.

The attack occurred at about 6:15 a.m. (0315 GMT) when a suicide bomber tried to enter the base of Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, which is part of Hashd Shaabi brigades, in central the city of Kirkuk, some 250 km north of Baghdad, a local police source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The guards of the base opened fire on the attacker and blew up his explosive vest, killing him before reaching the entrance of the base, the source said.

There is no immediate report about casualties among the Hashd Shaabi members, the source added.

Asa'ib Ahl al-Haq, or League of People of Righteousness, are allegedly funded, trained and armed by Iran's Quds Force during the U.S. occupation of Iraq and later became allied to the Shiite-led government in Baghdad.

No group has so far claimed responsibility for the attacks, but the Islamic State (IS) militant group, in most cases, is responsible for such suicide attacks targeting the security forces and civilians in crowded areas across Iraq.

The attack came a day after IS militants attacked an oil well in Khubbaz oilfield, some 35 km southwest of the city of Kirkuk, leaving two policemen killed and three others wounded.

During the past few months, dozens of IS militants fled their former bases in Salahudin province and Hawijah area in the west of Kirkuk after the Iraqi forces cleared these areas during major anti-IS offensives.

However, remnants of IS militants resorted to hideouts in rugged areas near the rivers of Tigris and Zab, as well as Himreen mountainous areas to continue their almost daily attacks against civilians and Iraqi forces.

On Dec. 9, 2017, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially declared full liberation of Iraq from IS militants after Iraqi forces recaptured all the areas once seized by the extremist group.

Nevertheless, small groups and individuals of IS militants are still capable of carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down. Enditem