“The US forces withdrew from some regions in Iraq but they, meantime, paved the ground for the terrorists’ return to these regions to induce that their (the Americans’) presence established security,” Sa’ad al-Ka’abi, a security expert, told the Arabic-language al-Ma’aloumeh news website on Wednesday.
He added that the US transferred the ISIL terrorists to Iraq from the regions in Syria which had been liberated by the Syrian army, noting that Washington is now using the same militants for attacks inside Iraq.
“The ISIL is the US winning card to continue deployment in Iraq,” al-Ka’abi warned, adding that more terrorist attacks are expected in the next few days which needs the Iraqi security forces’ more vigilance, specially in desert areas in Western Iraq.
A senior Iraqi official said on Tuesday that all recent terrorist attacks in the three provinces of al-Anbar, Salahuddin and Babel by the ISIL militants came with the US support.
“At present, the US forces are using the leverage of ISIL return to pressure the government to extend their deployment in Iraq,” Hamid al-Hayes, the chairman of Anbar Salvation Council, told al-Ma’aloumeh.
The fact that the ISIL attacks were resumed after the Iraqi government’s demand for the US forces’ withdrawal indicates that Washington is behind them, he added.
“At present, 4,000 ISIL terrorists are present at the desert and bordering areas between Iraq, Syria and Saudi Arabia,” al-Hayes warned.
In relevant remarks on Monday, a senior commander of Hashd al-Shaabi (Iraqi popular forces) had also warned that the ISIL terrorist group has been reinvigorated and activated again in a number of provinces in Iraq.
“The Americans and the ISIL terrorists are repeating the same scenario they played during the collapse of Mosul in 2014, in Babel, Salahuddin and Diyali provinces and they are attempting to distort security and stir instability in those regions,” Qasim al-Ma’amouri, the commander of Hashd al-Shaabi’s Division 26, was quoted by al-Ma’aloumeh as saying.
“We have intelligence showing that the terrorist group has resumed its activities in several Iraqi provinces, including Babel, with the US help,” he added.
Al-Ma’amouri said that the ISIL members have again infiltrated Jorf al-Nasr and Northern Babel.
At least 10 Iraqi fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units (PMU), also known as Hashd al-Shabi, were killed in an attack by the ISIL Takfiri terrorist group in Salahuddin Province.
The coordinated assault which took place in the cities of Mekeeshfa and Balad, led to clashes between PMU forces and the ISIL terrorists on several fronts, the paramilitary group announced on Saturday.
The PMU further said its fighters have now taken control of the situation, adding the Iraqi government has also sent reinforcements to supplement efforts and prepare for a possible retaliatory attack.
Iraq’s Prime Minister-designate Mustafa al-Kadhimi has paid tribute to families of those who were killed, according to a statement circulated by Iraqi media.
“With great sadness, we received news of the martyrdom of a group of heroes from among the Hashd al-Shabi who died defending their homeland in the face of ISIL attacks in the Mekeeshfah and Balad areas north of Baghdad,” the statement read.