ISIS infighting leaves senior leader dead in Kirkuk: official

Hawija – Internal wrangles between Islamic State members in Kirkuk have left one senior area ruler dead, an official was quoted saying on Thursday as the province awaits liberation of IS havens.

Alsumaria News quoted Sadeq al-Husseini, chairman of the security committee at Kirkuk council, saying that the “mayor of Diyala”, who was temporarily appointed by supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was killed with two other companions when members engaged in an infighting near the group’s stronghold town of Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk.

Husseini said the fight was a part of a series of recent disputes among IS leaderships in Hawija, adding that senior members have traded accusations of causing defeats and loss of members to security forces in Mutaibija, an area on the borders between Diyala and Salahuddin.

Most of Islamic State’s so-called “Diyala Province” leaders have stationed in Hawija for the past two years after security forces took over the group’s havens there in early 2015.

On Tuesday, Alsumaria News quoted an official source in Kirkuk saying that IS had opened alternative headquarters for its so-called “Nineveh State”, “Dijlah State”, “Salahuddin State” and “Diyala State” in Hawija. He said senior leaders had entered the town in armored vehicles after having fled battles with security forces in Nineveh. The source added that IS militants cut a number of main roads and subjected them to a curfew.

“Hawija has now become the group’s main haven, with members split between Hawija and Tal Afar an Baaj (west of Nineveh),” said the source.

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