1. Skip to content
  2. Skip to main menu
  3. Skip to more DW sites

Iraq: Police officers killed in attack claimed by IS

December 18, 2022

The self-declared "Islamic State" said it was responsible for the blast that killed at least nine police officers near Kirkuk. The militia is still active in parts of Iraq, despite Baghdad declaring victory over it.

Members of the Iraqi federal police forces stand guard at a checkpoint (file photo)
Iraq security forces still conduct raids against the Islamic State (file photo)Image: AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP

The "Islamic State" (IS) militia claimed responsibility for the killing of at least nine Iraqi police officers near Kirkuk on Sunday, the group said on its Telegram channel.

The officers were killed when their vehicle hit an explosive device, leading to an exchange of fire with IS fighters, local officials said.

The security forces had been hunting for fugitive gunmen when the attack took place in the oil-rich province in the north of the country.

What we know so far 

The explosion happened near the village of Safra, some 30 kilometers (about 20 miles) southwest of Kirkuk city, a source in the security services told the Reuters news agency.

The bomb was said to have initially targeted a truck transporting the men and was followed by "a direct attack with small arms."

One of the IS gunmen was also reportedly killed and two other policemen were critically wounded.

"An assailant has been killed and we are looking for the others," an officer told the AFP news agency.

Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, who is also general commander of the army, ordered an investigation into the "terrorist" incident, according to the state news agency INA.

The federal police commander had been dispatched to the area for further investigation. 

The 'Islamic State' still poses a threat

The Islamist militant group 'IS' seized large areas of Iraqi and Syrian territory from 2014, and declared a "caliphate" where they ruled with brutality.

Iraqi forces backed by a US-led military coalition defeated the jihadists in late 2017 and IS lost its last stronghold in Syria, close to the frontier with Iraq, in 2019.

The coalition led by the US stayed to fulfill a combat role in Iraq until December last year, and some 2,500 American soldiers remain in the country as trainers.

However, some IS fighters remain active in several pockets of Iraqi territory. Government security forces still carry out counter-terrorism operations against the group and regularly announce the deaths of militants in airstrikes and raids.

mm, rc/dj (dpa, Reuters, AFP)