In Rudaw 

ISIS still a major threat, warns Peshmerga chief of staff

The Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs chief of staff warned on Tuesday that the Islamic State (ISIS) is still a major threat, joining a chorus of officials warning of the group’s continued devastating effects in Iraq.

“We have said this many times, ISIS is still a threat to the region because of the terrorist attacks they conduct,” Ministry of Peshmerga Affairs chief of staff Jabar Yawar told Rudaw’s Sangar Abdulrahman on Tuesday. “What ISIS lost in 2017 when then-Prime Minister of Iraq Haidar al-Abadi announced their defeat, was only their alleged caliphate, however ISIS is still out there conducting attacks.”

Despite its territorial defeat in Iraq in 2017, ISIS remains active across the country, especially in areas disputed between Erbil and Baghdad.

According to data provided by Yawar, in disputed areas outside the control of the Kurdistan Regional Government’s (KRG) administration, ISIS has conducted 230 attacks in 2020 alone, during which 812 people have been either killed, injured, or kidnapped as a result.

“In January alone, ISIS has conducted 14 attacks and 150 people have been killed and injured,” Yawar said, emphasizing that the reason for the high number of attacks were security gaps stemming from disputes between the governments.

On Thursday, ISIS claimed in its weekly propaganda newspaper al-Naba that it had killed and injured at least 22 people in 8 attacks in Iraq from January 28 to February 3.

According to ISIS propaganda outlet Amaq, the terror group carried out 1,422 attacks in Iraq in 2020, with the highest number of attacks recorded in Diyala province. A total of 2,748 people were killed as a result of the attacks, Amaq said earlier this month.

PM Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced the killing of Abu Yaser al-Issawi, who referred to himself as the deputy caliph and ISIS’ so-called governor, or Wali, of Iraq, as part of operation “Revenge of the Martyrs” in late January.

Issawi’s killing fulfilled a promise to the “families of the dead in Tayaran Square, and the PMF [Popular Mobilization Forces],” military spokesperson Yehia Rasool told state media, where the double suicide bombing on January 28 left at least 32 people dead and 100 others injured.

Less than a week later, he announced the killing of two Islamic State (ISIS) group members allegedly involved in the January fatal double suicide bombings in Baghdad’s Tayaran Square. Source