9 killed in insurgent attacks in central Iraq

Source: Xinhua| 2018-03-25 06:07:04|Editor: Mu Xuequan
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BAGHDAD, March 24 (Xinhua) -- Five paramilitary Hashd Shaabi fighters and four civilians were killed Saturday in two incidents in the Iraqi provinces of Kirkuk and Diyala, a security source and official said.

The Iraqi forces found the bodies of five Hashd Shaabi fighters from the Turkoman minority, who were kidnapped three hours earlier in the day by gunmen outside their base in the town of Hawijah, some 45 km southwest of Kirkuk," Captain Ahmed al-Obeidi from Hawijah police told Xinhua.

The five bodies were found handcuffed and blindfolded with bullet holes in the back of their heads, Obeidi said.

In Iraq's eastern province of Diyala, Islamic State (IS) militants opened fire on a civilian car on a road in Himreen area in east of the town of Sa'diyah, some 120 km northeast of the Iraqi capital Baghdad, the mayor of the town Ahmed al-Zarkoushi told Xinhua.

The attack left four people killed inside the car, including a woman and a child, and wounded two others, Zarkoushi added.

The attackers fled the scene to the nearby mountainous area of Himreen, Zarkoushi said.

Earlier in the day, Lt. Gen. Raid Shakir Jawdat, the commander of the federal police forces, said in a statement that IS militants executed federal policemen who were kidnapped four days ago by the extremist militants.

On March 20, IS militants kidnapped 10 federal policemen at a fake checkpoint on the main road near the mountainous Himreen area when they were travelling in two civilian cars heading to their homes in Baghdad for vacation.

During the past few months, dozens of IS militants fled their former urban strongholds in Mosul, 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.

However, small groups and individuals of IS militants regrouped in the rugged areas and are carrying out attacks against the security forces and civilians despite operations from time to time to hunt them down.