Hundreds of families flee violence in mixed sect eastern Iraq district

Hundreds of families flee violence in mixed sect eastern Iraq district
Some 300 families in parts of an eastern Iraqi district with a mixed Shia-Sunni population have left their homes after a surge in deadly violence.
2 min read
03 November, 2021
Diyala is a mixed Shia-Sunni governorate that sometimes sees sectarian violence [AFP/Getty]

Families have been fleeing their homes in a district in Diyala province, eastern Iraq after their villages were attacked in what appeared to be sectarian-fuelled violence.

Families fleeing come from the predominantly Sunni villages of Al-Imam, Al-Mithaq and Al-Mithaq Al-Thani in the Miqdadiya district of the country’s Diyala governorate, Iraq’s migration and displacement ministry said in a statement this weekend.

Ministry officials met with some of the displaced to listen to their concerns, adding that the number of families who have fled the area has now risen to 300.

The Islamic State group (IS) claimed responsibility for an attack on a predominantly Shia village in the religiously mixed district that killed 15 people last Tuesday. The next day, 11 people were killed in a nearby Sunni village in what looked to be a retaliatory attack.

Though the Iraqi forces and their partners declared that they had defeated the Islamic State in December 2017, remnants of the extremist group still operate in parts of northern and western Iraq.

IS also claimed an attack in Kirkuk province in which two fighters from the Kurdish Peshmerga forces were killed on Saturday evening.

The violence, as well the fallout from last month's elections, was enough to stop President Barham Salih from attending the COP26 climate change summit in Glasgow.

Parties linked to the Iran-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) were some of the biggest losers in the 10 October vote, losing most of their parliament seats.

They have rejected the results as a "scam", filing complaints with the country's electoral commission for fraud.

The commission has so far thrown out most of the complaints, saying there was insufficient evidence to back up the claims.