Six Iraqi security personnel, 3 civilians killed in Islamic State ambush, say police – World News , Firstpost

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Four members of Hashed al-Shaabi and two policemen died along with three civilians, Mohammed Zidane, the mayor of Zouiya, 50 kilometers from the town of Tikrit

Representative image. AP

Samarra: Six Iraqi security personnel and three civilians were killed in an ISIS ambush north of Baghdad on Saturday, police and a local official said.

A police source said a roadside bomb hit a car and these jihadists opened fire on a rescue team made up of state-aligned police and paramilitary forces when they arrived at the scene in about 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the capital.

Four members of Hashed al-Shaabi and two policemen died along with three civilians, said Mohammed Zidane, the mayor of Zouiya, 50 kilometers from the town of Tikrit. AFP.

He updated an earlier civilian death toll of two.

There was no immediate information about the casualties among the attackers, but Zidane said those killed among the Hashed, a coalition of mostly Shia forces, were Sunni tribes.

The mayor and police said the ambush was the work of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, although no immediate claims of responsibility were made.

Eleven people were killed on November 8 in an IS attack on an observation post in Al-Radwaniyah, near Baghdad airport on the outskirts of the capital.

IS swept through a third of Iraq in 2014, seizing major cities in the north and west and reaching the suburbs of the capital.

After a bitter three-year fight backed by a US-led military coalition, Iraq declared ISIS defeated at the end of 2017.

The coalition has significantly reduced its troops this year.

IS sleeper cells have continued to carry out hit and run attacks on state security forces and infrastructure, especially in desert areas where troops are depleted.

Attacks at high tolls and close to the capital were, however, rare.

The latest attacks come as the United States announced it would withdraw 500 more troops, reducing its deployment to 2,500.

Most of the other countries contributing to the coalition withdrew since the coronavirus the pandemic has struck.

However, the Iraqi government has “made it clear that it wants to maintain its partnership with the United States and coalition forces as we continue to end the fight against ISIS,” the US commander for the Islamic State said on Thursday. Western Asia, using another acronym for the jihadist group.

General Kenneth McKenzie cited estimates that ISIS still has a corps of 10,000 supporters in the Iraq-Syria region and remains a real threat.

“The progress of the Iraqi security forces has enabled the United States to reduce the posture of the forces in Iraq,” he said.

But US and coalition forces must stay on to help prevent ISIS from reconstituting itself into a cohesive group capable of planning major attacks, he said.

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