Diyala (IraqiNews.com) An indefinite number of tribal fighters were wounded early Monday in an overnight attack by Islamic State militants on their security barricades in Diyala.
Cap. Habib al-Shamri, from Diyala police, told Anadolu Agency that a series of attacks targeted a checkpoint held by Sunni tribal fighters from al-Hashd al-Ashaeri (Tribal Mobilization) in Shirwin village, east of Diyala. The encounter was fierce enough to require an army intervention, according to the officer.
The militants withdrew to Houd Azzour, one of their strongholds in Diyala, he added.
Islamic State militants have escalated their attacks on government and tribal forces in northeastern Diyala over the past few weeks. Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition, recaptured in 2015 all regions which IS had held since 2014.
Observers have said Islamic State’s occasional attacks against security and civilians outside Mosul, where the Iraqi forces lead asix-month-old campaign against IS, aimed at distracting security attention from the Mosul front. IS still holds a few areas in Salahuddin, Diyala, Anbar and Kirkuk, but the Iraqi government, employing most of its military power in the Mosul campaign, is expected to aim at those strongholds once the battle in Mosul realizes victory.
Iraqi generals say IS militants currently control less than seven percent of Iraqi territory.