Mourning and questions after another IS attack north of Baghdad

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The province of Salaheddine declared three days of mourning on Sunday after the death of ten people in an earlier jihadist attack, while some denounce the inability of Iraqi forces to eliminate the clandestine cells of the Islamic State group.

• Read also: ISIS ambush kills nine, including six soldiers, north of Baghdad

Six soldiers and four civilians perished on Saturday evening in an ambush by jihadists about 200 kilometers north of Baghdad, according to police sources.

The modus operandi chosen, three years after the announcement of the victory over ISIS, remains sketchy: a roadside bomb exploded when a civilian car passed by and when police officers and members of Hachd al- Chaabi – a coalition of paramilitaries now integrated into the state – came to their rescue, they came under fire from jihadists.

Eleven Iraqis, including Hashd fighters, were killed ten days ago in a grenade attack on a military post at the western entrance to Baghdad.

Heavy balance sheets in a country that has not experienced a major attack for at least three years.

All these attacks took place in the great Sunni belt around the capital, where Iraqi troops regularly carry out search operations and each time claim to have managed to dislodge many jihadists.

For Jamal al-Dhari, a Sunni politician, this ambush “highlights the repeated failures of the fight against terrorism, the government of Mustafa al-Kazimi must seriously put in place a national strategy (…) and stop be satisfied with “commissions of inquiry”, which the authorities announce to create after each incident.

According to Sunni deputy Mechaane al-Joubouri, the jihadists are taking advantage of the rugged geography of the mountainous and desert area to keep their cells underground.

When the death toll was still nine dead – the tenth succumbed to his wounds early on Sunday in hospital – he tweeted: “We have lost nine martyrs (…) at the foot of Mount Makhoul that Iraqi forces were assuring. a few days ago to have cleaned ”.

These attacks come as Washington has announced that it will soon withdraw 500 troops, leaving only 2,500 in Iraq.

Almost all of the troops from the other member states of the anti-ISIS coalition left the country at the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

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