Saudi paper warns of Islamic State plot to recapture Iraq’s Kirkuk

A picture shows Islamic State militants doing a military exercise with their flag appearing clearly in the background

Baghdad ( – A Saudi daily paper warned on Sunday of a plot by the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group to storm Kirkuk and use it as a starting point for regaining control of Mosul.

In its report, Okaz newspaper quoted reliable security sources as saying that “The so-called Islamic State Operations Command in the Nineveh Plain seeks to storm Kirkuk before using it as a starting point for recapturing Mosul.”

The sources mentioned nothing about measures taken by the Counter-Terrorism Service in response to the IS move, however they stressed that “there is military and security coordination to face this threat.”

On Saturday, leaders of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) and Federal Police held a meeting to discuss mutual coordination to protect civilians from IS attacks.

Kirkuk officials previously urged reinforcing military troops in the south and west of the province, as the region still has Islamic State members who escaped during liberation of Hawija to remote areas.

A government campaign, backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led coalition, has been fighting, since October 2016, the militant group, which declared a self-styled “caliphate” from Mosul.

The war against IS has so far displaced at least five million people. Thousands of others fled toward neighboring countries including Syria, Turkey and other European countries, since IS emerged to proclaim its self-styled “caliphate”.

On July 10, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi announced liberation of the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul from IS militants. More than 25000 militants were killed throughout the campaign, which started in October 2016.

Despite the victory over IS there the city, observers say IS is believed to constitute a security threat even after the group’s defeat at its main havens across Iraqi provinces.

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