ISIS threatens Iraqi forces in video after attacking militia
The Islamic State (ISIS) renewed its threats against Iraqi forces in a video published on Monday – the same day it attacked a militia in the city of Samarra, north of Baghdad.
In the video, a militant named Abu al-Miqdad al-Iraqi vows ISIS will fight as he is surrounded by masked men with weapons in a desert area.
“This structure [of] Jihadism grows in strength and become more powerful,” said al-Iraqi in the video. “Holy operations have not ended with God’s blessing. They indeed are getting more intense by the day.”
The video was posted on one of ISIS’ channels on the encrypted Telegram messaging service.
ISIS is currently experiencing a resurgence in the country. The Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) Minister of Peshmerga Affairs said a lack of security in some areas is allowing the group to re-establish itself.
“The existing security vacuum has given Daesh terrorists a golden opportunity to regroup,” Shoresh Ismail told journalists in August, using the Arabic-language acronym for the group.
Also on Monday, ISIS attacked the Saraya al-Salam militia, which is controlled by fiery Shiite cleric and politician Muqtada al-Sadr in Samarra – north of Baghdad. Sadr also heads the Sayirun bloc – the largest in the Iraqi parliament. Two fighters from the group died in the ambush. Saraya al-Salam is part of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), or Hashd al-Shaabi, that formed in 2014 to fight ISIS.
Iraq announced the defeat of ISIS in December 2017, however the group remains active, particularly the disputed Iraqi-Kurdish territories and other parts of the north. Samarra is roughly 135 kilometers north of Baghdad, and the Saladin province it lies in is one of the northern areas in which ISIS maintains a presence.
In its latest propaganda video, ISIS claimed that Iraqi forces are hiding “losses”, calling Iraq’s victory over the group a “false” victory.
The group again renewed their vow of allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in the video. The video was released after the Monday Samarra attack.
ISIS released a video of its operation in Samarra on Monday as well. The video shows masked gunmen approaching a vehicle on a dirt road in a remote area and seizing weapons.
Iraq launched the Will of Victory operation to fight ISIS remnants in the north and west of Iraq on July 7.
According to a report from the Pentagon Inspector General which covers April to late June, the US-led anti-ISIS coalition known as Combined Joint Task Force – Operation Inherent Resolve (CJTF-OIR) reported that ISIS in Iraq is attempting to expand its influence over populations in the Sunni-majority provinces north and west of Baghdad, including the Diyala province, and has reorganized its leadership and established safe havens in rural Sunni-majority areas.