Diyala – Islamic State militants are redeploying at villages located on the borders between Diyala and Salahuddin, a local official said, warning that the fact puts areas recaptured by security forces at danger.
Udai al-Khadran, mayor of al-Khales town, north of Baqubah, told Alsumaria News that IS redeployed its fighters at the villages of Boubakr, Boawad and Boutaraz near the borders with Salahuddin. The three villages had been empty of residents for three years, Khadran said, adding that they had not seen a security presence for all that period.
According to the official, the three villages enjoy a “strategic location”, and represent “a direct threat” to neighboring villages and nearby liberated areas.
Government and tribal forces have launched occasional operations over the past few months to clear border regions between both provinces, killing dozens of militants. IS fighters have also responded with occasional attacks targeting troops, leaving several deaths.
Officials from towns still held by IS since 2014 have pressed the Iraqi government to hasten with security operations to retake those regions, but the Iraqi government is giving most attention to its battle in Mosul, Islamic State’s largest stronghold in Iraq.
On Monday, Forat al-Tamimi, an MP from Diyala, said IS was reactivating its havens east of the city of Baqubah to stage attacks against troops and civilians. His warning came after a suicide attack by IS left 14 casualties among security forces at a major military base in Qaraqosh, southeast of Diyala.