11 Dead in Iraq Attack Blamed on IS Jihadists

World Defense

11 Dead in Iraq Attack Blamed on IS Jihadists

In eastern Iraq, a tragic incident unfolded on Thursday evening, claiming the lives of at least 11 civilians in a blast and gunfire, according to statements from two security officials on Friday. The attack targeted a minibus transporting individuals who had attended an electoral meeting organized by a candidate from their tribe in Diyala province.

An interior ministry official, requesting anonymity, revealed that the violence occurred as the minibus returned from the political gathering. The provincial governor, Muthana al-Tamimi, placed blame on jihadists, specifically pointing fingers at the Islamic State (IS) group for what he termed a "cowardly operation." Al-Tamimi urged heightened vigilance against potential dormant cells of extremists in the region through a post on his Facebook page.

Despite the absence of an immediate claim from IS, Diyala remains an area where the group cells are known to be active. Following the extensive territorial losses suffered by IS in Iraq and Syria, the group officially declared the end of its self-proclaimed "caliphate" in 2017. However, sporadic attacks persist, particularly targeting military and police personnel in remote parts of central and northern Iraq.

In the recent Diyala unrest, a security source in Baghdad reported that at least 11 individuals lost their lives, and 17 sustained injuries in an attack initiated by an explosive device, followed by gunfire, during the gathering in Al-Omraniya village. The minibus, returning from an electoral meeting, was reportedly struck by two homemade bombs, with sniper fire ensuing.

This tragic event unfolded just days before the scheduled provincial council elections on December 18, which, in turn, contribute to the selection of governors. Iraq, striving to overcome decades of conflict, including the toppling of Saddam Hussein two decades ago, faces ongoing security challenges. Approximately 2,500 U.S. troops remain in the country as part of international efforts to prevent the resurgence of IS.

A United Nations report from July indicated that IS maintains a presence with an estimated 5,000 to 7,000 members across Iraq and the Syrian Arab Republic, predominantly consisting of fighters. The incident in Diyala underscores the persistent threat posed by extremist elements, emphasizing the need for continued efforts to maintain security and stability in the region.

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