Salahuddin (IraqiNews.com) Three civilians were killed and six others were wounded in Salahuddin province on Wednesday when a bomb planted by the Islamic State exploded while they were trying to flee group-held areas in Kirkuk.
A security source in Salahuddin governorate told Alsumaria News that the civilians were escaping Islamic State-held areas in Kirkuk’s town of Hawija when an IED went off as they reached Hamreen mountains area in Salahuddin.
“There are families escaping through perilous routes everyday, with many of them killed and wounded,” according to the source.
Islamic State has blocked civilians’ exit from areas it took over in 2014, targeting those who attempted to flee with landmines or gunfire. It is believed that the extremist group uses civilians as human shields against government forces and allied militias seeking to retake areas occupied by the group.
Other occasional reports have, however, said IS would allow civilians to flee after paying money.
The group still maintains some pockets in southwestern Kirkuk and Salahuddin.
Iraqi government data count nearly 191.000 internal refugees since the government launched operations to retake IS’s largest stronghold in Mosul in October 2016. The United Nations counts 217.000 people who have fled since October, out of whom 160.000 are still internally displaced.