Diyala (IraqiNews.com) Civilians at a village in Diyala province are still threatened by Islamic State sniper for a second week as Iraq declared final victory over the militant group, according to a local official.
Udai al-Khadran, mayor of al-Khales (15 km north of Baqubah) told Alsumaria News that “Islamic State snipers, scattered above the hills of Mubarak al-Farhan village, on the borders between Diyala and Salahuddin, paralyze civilians’ movement and prevent them from reaching their farmlands”.
Mubarak al-Farhan is one of the villages recaptured by Iraqi security during the campaign to eliminate Islamic State’s self-styled “caliphate”. It falls within the administrative borders of Salahuddin province, and is located very close to the Mutaibija Basin, a longtime hotbed for Islamic State militants.
Thousands of Islamic State militants and Iraqi civilians were killed since Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S-led coalition, launched an offensive to clear IS-held regions in 2016.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the Islamic State last Saturday, but many warn that the group still poses a security threat with sleeper cells. Iraqi security forces continue to clear recaptured areas from militants’ cells, while militants carry out occasional attacks on civilians and security troops.