An unidentified security source told Iraq’s Shafaq news agency that Daesh militants “carried an attack on 11th Iraqi Army Division within the area between Deraa al-Fayyad village and Abdullah al-Fayyad village (al-Mabazel)” on Wednesday evening.
The Iraqi army’s aviation intervened to repel the assault, engaging in clashes with the terrorists, the source added, without elaborating on further details.
The Baghdad attack came one day after Daesh elements killed 14 civilians and injured 15 others in the village of Al-Hawasha, near the town of Muqdadiya, in Iraq’s eastern Diyala Province.
Reports said the militants had earlier kidnapped three villagers in exchange for ransom. However, after killing the abductees, they ambushed their relatives on a road leading to the exchange site and showered them with bullets, mortar shells and explosive devices.
In a post on his Twitter account, Iraqi President Barham Salih denounced the attack as a “despicable attempt to destabilize” his country.
He said that Iraq needed to boost its security, address security gaps and “not underestimate the threat of ISIL (Daesh).”
Iraqi security officials visited the site of the crime and the Iraqi army issued a statement afterwards.
“Terrorists will soon face a fair retribution and they will not be able to endanger the security of Diyala,” the statement read. “We will shake the earth under the feet of the wicked cowards, and Diyala will remain a symbol of Iraq’s unity… The security of Iraq and Iraqis is a red line that cannot be joked about.”
Al-Azhar, Hezbollah condemn Diyala crime
Additionally, the Grand Imam of Egypt’s al-Azhar condemned the Diyala attack, offering condolences to the victims’ families and wishing a speedy recovery for those wounded.
“Shedding the blood of innocent people is a treacherous terrorism that contradicts the values of religions and humanity, which requires concerted international efforts to confront terrorist organizations,” Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb said in a statement, expressing “solidarity with Iraq, its leadership and people, against this brutal terrorism, praying to God — the Almighty — to protect Iraq, and to spare its people from all harm and evil.”
Similarly, Lebanon’s Hezbollah resistance movement denounced the deadly raid in Diyala.
In a statement, it said the attack reveals that Daesh is still one of the biggest threats to Iraq and its national unity, warning that the states sponsoring the terror outfit continue their aggression against the Arab country as well as its security and stability.
Hezbollah also voiced solidarity with the Iraqi people and urged them to exert their utmost possible efforts to chase the remnants of the criminal Daesh organization in order to eradicate it and rid the Iraqis of its evil.
The Iraqi people, along with the national army, the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) or Hashd al-Sha’abi and resistance factions, who have a long history of fighting terrorism, are able to protect Iraq from the dangers that threaten it, the Lebanese resistance movement added.
Nujaba: Rise in Daesh terror stems from weak security measures
Nasr al-Shammari, the spokesman of Iraq’s al-Nujaba resistance movement, took to Twitter to slam the government over the Diyala tragedy.
“Anyone who hears the news of the heart wrenching catastrophe in Diyala Province and the crime of the [Daesh] terrorist group against citizens will easily understand that the reason for what happened is the weakness of the government’s measures. It (the weakness) emanates from its (the government’s) succumbing to internal and external pressure, ensuing security breaches and the failure of the armed forces. Continuing to ignore this situation and remain silent in the face of the bloodshed will have dire consequences,” he said.*
Before killing the Takfiri perpetrators of the crime, the officials responsible for it should be held to account, he added. “We consider the official’s use of mere words as an inappropriate escape from responsibility.”
Attacks in Saladin, Kirkuk
On Wednesday, Daesh attacked four security points belonging to the Iraqi army on Haditha al-Siniya Road in Saladin Province.
A security source told Shafaq News Agency that the attack left two members of the Iraqi army dead and wounded others.
Also on the same day, a Daesh sniper killed a soldier from the Iraqi army’s 45th Brigade in Daquq district, south of Kirkuk Province.
Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December 2017 after a three-year counter-terrorism military campaign, which also had the support of neighboring Iran.
The terror outfit’s remnants, though, keep staging sporadic attacks across Iraq, attempting to regroup and unleash fresh violence.
Daesh has intensified its terrorist attacks in Iraq since January 2020, when the United States assassinated top Iranian anti-terror commander Lieutenant General Qassem Soleimani and Hashd al-Sha’abi deputy commander, Abu Mahdi al-Muhandis, near Baghdad International Airport.