ISIS ‘remains a threat’ as it claims attack on army post in northern Iraq |


Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility on Tuesday for an attack on Monday targeting an army post in northern Iraq which security sources said had killed a commanding officer and four soldiers.

The attack took place between Diyala and Salahuddin provinces, a rural area that remains a hotbed of activity for militant cells years after Iraq declared final victory over the extremist group in 2017.

Security forces repelled the attack, the defence ministry said on Monday in a statement, mourning the loss of a colonel and a number of others from the regiment. The security sources said five others had also been wounded.

ISIS said in its statement on Telegram it had targeted the barracks with machine guns and grenades.

Iraq has seen relative security stability in recent years after the chaos of the 2003 US-led invasion and years of bloody sectarian conflict that followed.

The recent ISIS activity comes as the Iraqi government seeks the withdrawal of US forces from the country.

There are around 2,500 US military personnel in Iraq as part of the anti-ISIS coalition.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shiaa al-Sudani has repeatedly said the coalition is no longer necessary and that it is time to implement a withdrawal. The two countries began a dialogue on the issue late last year.

American officials maintain that ISIS remains a threat in Iraq, albeit less so than in years past. In its report on ISIS for the fourth quarter of 2023, the US Defence Department’s Office of Inspector General described ISIS as “largely contained.”

“In Iraq, due to counter-terrorism pressure, the ISIS threat was largely contained, though ISIS continued to exploit security gaps between federal Iraq and the Iraqi Kurdistan Region and conducted sporadic attacks, mostly in Shia communities,” read the report.

“ISIS is still a threat here, much, much diminished, but nevertheless our work is essentially not done and we want to ensure that Iraqi forces can continue the enduring defeat of ISIS,” US ambassador to Iraq Alina Romanowski told Reuters in March.

General Michael Kurilla, who heads US Central Command, told Congress the same month that US intelligence estimates there to be around 1,000 ISIS fighters at large in Iraq.

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