IS members, loyalists gear up to run for parliamentary election, says official

An Islamic State fighter carries his weapon in a fight against Iraqi troops

Anbar ( – Head of Anbar Salvation Council Sheikh Humaid al-Hayes has uncovered a desire by Islamic State (IS) members to run for the upcoming parliamentary election, slated for May.

Speaking to Sputnik news agency, Hayes said, “Six to eight loyalists and former members of the Islamic State group in Anbar are gearing up to run for the May parliamentary election.”

Hayes pointed out that his council is “going to send a list of the IS members seeking to run in parliamentary polls to the federal government” to take appropriate action.

He also admitted that dozens of IS militants have returned back to Anbar regions along with repatriated families after being released for the lack of sufficient evidence and corruption.

Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq earlier in November with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.

IS declared a self-styled “caliphate” in a third of Iraq and neighboring Syria in 2014. A government campaign, backed by a U.S.-led international coalition and paramilitary troops, was launched in 2016 to retake IS-held regions, managing to retake all havens, most notably the city of Mosul, the group’s previously proclaimed capital.

The United Nations says nearly five million people have been displaced since Islamic State militants took over large areas of Iraq in 2014.

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