18 Iraqis killed in spree of night attacks blamed on ISIS

Roadside bombs and light weapons used against security forces in separate raids across Iraq

FILE PHOTO: A firefighter inspects the site of a car bomb attack in Sadr City district of Baghdad, Iraq April 15, 2021. REUTERS/Wissam al-Okili/File Photo
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At least 18 people were killed in a string of overnight attacks in Iraq allegedly carried out by ISIS on Friday and Saturday.

In the deadliest attack in the town of Tarmiyah, a roadside bomb detonated next to a passing military convoy, killing two officers and two soldiers, the Joint Operation Command said.

Iraqi military reinforcements rushing to respond to the blast were then ambushed by militants, who killed another officer and two more soldiers, it said.

Security sources said a tribal fighter and a civilian also died as fighting raged for hours through to the early morning.

Tarmiyah, about 20 kilometres north of the capital Baghdad, is known for its orchards.

Iraqi security forces have been battling ISIS militants in the area for weeks.

The militant group has launched a series of attacks against security forces and local tribal troops using bombs and light weapons.

Near the northern city of Kirkuk, militants assaulted positions held by the Kurdish Peshmerga forces, killing six soldiers and wounding several others, the president of the Kurdistan Regional Government said.

The attack took place in disputed territory claimed by both Baghdad and the Kurdish region.

Kurdish President Nechervan Barzani blamed ISIS militants for the attacks, saying they were taking advantage of “security voids in the disputed areas”.

Mr Barzani called for the Peshmerga and Iraqi Army to join forces to protect the territory.

Another attack took place in the western desert bordering Syria, a security source said.

"An officer and a soldier were killed in a bomb explosion while an army convoy was en route to Akashat," he said.

A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia faces ISIS positions in Diyala in June 2014. AFP
A member of the Kurdish Peshmerga militia faces ISIS positions in Diyala in June 2014. AFP

A soldier was also killed in a bomb blast in Diyala province, which borders Baghdad to the east, according to another official, who added that two other fighters were also wounded in a separate attack.

No group has yet claimed responsibility for the attacks, but they matched tactics previously used by ISIS.

In late 2017, after driving the extremist group out of all the areas it occupied in Iraq with the support of the US-led international coalition, the Iraqi military declared ISIS had been defeated.

But extremist sleeper cells holed up in the country’s mountains and deserts continue to carry out deadly attacks, often at night and in remote areas.

Iraq’s security forces have killed or arrested thousands of militants in continuous operations targeting the cells.

Following the latest attacks, Iraqi President Barham Saleh took to Twitter to call for "effective international support to eradicate terror across the region".

The international coalition has been in Iraq since 2014 to help fight ISIS, but a vote in parliament last year called for the departure of all foreign troops from the country.