24 paramilitary personnel likely to be abducted by Islamic State, west of Kirkuk: Source

Al-Hashd al-Shaabi forces.

Kirkuk ( Security troops have lost communication with more than twenty paramilitary personnel in addition to losing track of eight vehicles in west of Kirkuk, a security source was quoted saying.

“Communication with 24 personnel of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) on board of eight vehicles was lost in the wake of confrontations with Islamic State members in al-Riyad region in Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk,” the source told Baghdad Today website.

The source added that the operation was likely to have been carried out “setting up a trap for the fighters.”

Meanwhile, Ali al-Husseini, PMFs spokesperson in the northern axis, told Baghdad Today, that “troops cordoned off the region and are waiting until the morning to get to know more details and invade it.”

Earlier today, news reports indicated confrontations between PMFs and Islamic State members in southwest of Kirkuk.

“Clashes took place between PMFs and Islamic State members near al-Shahriya bridge in Riyad town,” the source added.

Last week, Kirkuk Governor Rakan al-Jabouri warned that Islamic State still poses a serious threat to the security of the province, saying that the militants are still active in Kirkuk’s remote areas and farms around villages.

In December, Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi announced full liberation of Iraqi lands, declaring end of war against IS members.

Iraqi forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, have been fighting since October 2016 to retake territories Islamic State had occupied.

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