Four Iraqi soldiers killed in machine gun attack

Four Iraqi soldiers killed in machine gun attack
Islamic State fighters are responsible for the latest attack, according to the governor of Kirkuk.
2 min read
19 November, 2022
Both Baghdad's forces and the autonomous Kurdistan region claim the area where the assault occurred [Getty images]

A machine gun attack on a remote northern Iraqi military post killed four soldiers on Saturday, a military source said, the latest unrest in the troubled region.

The source said the pre-dawn assault targeted the desert post near Kirkuk, where remnants of the Islamic State group are active, as well as Kurdistan Workers' Party (PKK) rebels waging an insurgency against Turkey.

Both Baghdad's forces and those of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region claim the area where the assault occurred.

Iraqi Kurdish fighters are deployed about one kilometre (less than a mile) from the post that was attacked, said the source, who asked not to be identified.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but governor of Kirkuk Rakan Saeed al-Jiboury told The Associated Press that Islamic state fighters were responsible. 

Al-Jiboury said the attack “is a result of negligence and lack of care by the security forces."

He added that the site of the attack is an area where authority is divided between the Iraqi army and Kurdish peshmerga forces "so there is no coordination, and (IS) takes advantage of this.”

 Turkish forces regularly carry out military operations against Kurdish PKK forces, designated a terrorist group by Ankara and its Western allies.

In addition, neighbouring Iran, shaken by two months of anti-regime demonstrations, accuses Kurdish-Iranian opposition groups based in northern Iraq of stoking the "riots".

Iraqi Kurdistan hosts several Iranian Kurdish opposition groups, which have in the past waged an armed insurrection against Tehran.

In recent years their activities declined, but the wave of protests in Iran has fuelled tensions.

On Monday, Iran launched cross-border missile and drone strikes, killing at least one person according to local authorities.

Iran also carried out strikes in late September that killed more than a dozen people.

In the same region of Iraq, cells of the jihadist Islamic State group continue sporadic attacks against Iraqi soldiers and police, particularly in desert and mountain zones.

IS seized large swathes of Iraqi territory before the jihadists' defeat in late 2017 by Iraqi forces backed by a US-led military coalition.

That anti-IS coalition continued a combat role in Iraq until last December, but roughly 2,500 American soldiers remain.