Six Iraqi security personnel and three civilians were killed in an ISIS ambush north of Baghdad on Saturday, police and a local official said.
A police source told TBEN that a roadside bomb hit a car and jihadists opened fire on a rescue team made up of state-aligned police and paramilitary forces when they arrived on the island. the location, about 200 kilometers (120 miles) from the capital.
Four members of Hashed al-Shaabi and two police officers died along with three civilians, Mohammed Zidane, the mayor of Zouiya, 50 kilometers from the city of Tikrit, told TBEN.
He updated a previous civilian count of two deaths.
There was no immediate information about the casualties among the attackers, but Zidane said those killed among the Hashed, a coalition of mostly Shia forces, were members of the Sunni tribe.
The mayor and police said the ambush was the work of Islamic State (IS) jihadists, although no immediate claims of responsibility were made.
Eleven people were killed on November 8 in an ISIS attack on a lookout post in Al-Radwaniyah, near Baghdad airport, on the outskirts of the capital.
ISIS swept over a third of Iraq in 2014, seizing major cities in the north and west and reaching the suburbs of the capital.
After a fierce three-year fight backed by a US-led military coalition, Iraq declared ISIS defeated in late 2017.
The coalition has significantly reduced its troops this year.
ISIS sleeper cells have continued to carry out hit and run attacks against state security forces and infrastructure, especially in desert areas where troops are exhausted.
Attacks at high tolls and close to the capital were, however, rare.
The latest attacks come as the United States announced it would withdraw 500 more troops, reducing its deployment to 2,500.
Contributing forces from most of the other countries in the coalition have withdrawn since the coronavirus pandemic struck.
However, the Iraqi government has “made it clear that it wants to maintain its partnership with the United States and the coalition forces as we continue to finish the fight against IS,” the US commander said on Thursday. Orient, using another acronym for the jihadist group.
General Kenneth McKenzie cited estimates that ISIS still has a body of 10,000 supporters in the Iraq-Syria region and remains a real threat.
“The progress of the Iraqi security forces has enabled the United States to reduce the posture of the forces in Iraq,” he said.
But US and coalition forces must stay on to help prevent ISIS from reconstituting itself into a cohesive group capable of planning major attacks, he said.
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