Islamic State close Kirkuk temporary offices, give leaders 48hrs to withdraw
The Islamic State has ordered closure of temporary offices in its Kirkuk stronghold and gave some leaders 48 hours to leave the city, according to local sources.
Alsumaria News quoted the source saying that IS decided to close offices of its so-called “Diyala State” in Hawija and ordered leaders in charge of that headquarter to leave in 48 hours.
The source suggested that the move aims at relocating those command centers to Mutaibija, a region on the borders between Diyala and Salahuddin, which had also served as a destination for members fleeing Hawija.
“Daesh (Islamic State) in Hawija is seeking to destabilize security at neighboring provinces and find safe refuges for its members with victory in Mosul operations approaching and possible operations in Hawija,” said the source.
Late May, Alsumaria News quoted a source saying that IS had opened alternative headquarters for its so-called “Nineveh State, “Dijlah State”, “Salahuddin State” and “Diyala State” in Hawija. He said senior leaders had entered the town in armored vehicles after having fled battles with security forces in Nineveh. The source added that IS militants cut a number of main roads and subjected them to a curfew.
Hawija and other neighboring areas in southwest Kirkuk have been under Islamic State control since 2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria. The group executed dozens of civilians and security members there, forcing thousands to flee homes.
Local tribal leaders and politicians from Kirkuk have recently mounted pressure on the Iraqi government to hasten with invading Hawija, suggesting that its people were experiencing a humanitarian crisis under the group’s rule.
The Iraqi government is currently employing the largest portion of its military effort in Mosul, IS’s capital in Iraq where Iraqi commanders said recently they became in control over nearly 90 percent of territory since operations launched to retake the city in October.