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Remnants of savage militant group still wage war of terror in Iraq

Remnants of savage militant group still wage war of terror in Iraq

2019/05/14 | 03:55

(Hatha al-Youm | Iraq News)-































































Hussein Abd holds the identification papers of his three sons who were killed by Islamic State militants in the city of Badoush.

Hussein Abd holds the identification papers of his three sons who were killed by Islamic State militants in the city of Badoush.









Photo: Felipe Dana / Associated Press















































Photo: Felipe Dana / Associated Press

















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Hussein Abd holds the identification papers of his three sons who were killed by Islamic State militants in the city of Badoush.

Hussein Abd holds the identification papers of his three sons who were killed by Islamic State militants in the city of Badoush.







Photo: Felipe Dana / Associated Press































Remnants of savage militant group still wage war of terror in Iraq







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BADOUSH, Iraq — It was a chilly January evening, and Khadija Abd and her family had just finished supper at their farm when the two men with guns burst into the room.





One wore civilian clothes, the other an army uniform. They said they were from the Iraqi army’s 20th Division, which controls the northern Iraqi town of Badoush. In fact, they were Islamic State group militants who had come down from the surrounding mountains into Badoush with one thing on their mind: Revenge.











Around 13 more gunmen were waiting outside. The fighters pulled Khadija’s husband and his two brothers into the yard and shot them dead, leaving them in a pool of blood — punishment for providing information to the Iraqi military.





“How can we live after this?” Khadija said. The three brothers were the providers for the entire family.















A year and a half after the Islamic State group was declared defeated in Iraq, the militants still evoke fear in the lands of their former caliphate across northern Iraq. The fighters, hiding in caves and mountains, emerge at night to carry out kidnappings, killings and roadside ambushes, aimed at intimidating locals, silencing informants and restoring the extortion rackets that financed the group’s rise to power six years ago.





It is part of a hidden but relentless fight between the group’s remnants waging an insurgency and security forces trying to stamp them out, relying on intelligence operations, raids and searches for sleeper cells among the population.





The militants’ ranks number between 5,000 and 7,000 fighters around Iraq, according to one intelligence official.









“Although the territory once held by the so-called caliphate is fully liberated, Daesh fighters still exhibit their intention to exert influence and stage a comeback,” said Maj. Gen. Chad Franks, deputy commander-operations and intelligence for the U.S.-led coalition, using the Arabic acronym for the group.





The Badoush area alone has seen 20 Islamic State attacks, from bombings to targeted killings, since it was retaken from the militants in March 2017, according to the Kurdish Security Council. The militants brag about the attacks in videos that show fighters storming houses and killing purported “apostates” and spies.





In towns around the north, Iraqi soldiers knock on doors in the middle of the night, looking for suspects, based on intelligence tips or suspicious movements. They search houses and pull people away for questioning. But distrust runs deep among the residents.











“People in the town are very cooperative,” says Mohammed Fawzi, an intelligence officer. “But don’t forget that in one house one person was with Daesh and another member was killed by them. It’s very complicated.”





Bram Janssen is an Associated Press writer.





















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