Suspected IS attack on Iraqi Shia militia kills six

Suspected IS attack on Iraqi Shia militia kills six
IS are suspected to be the group behind Wednesday night's attack on an Iraqi Shia militia, although no group has yet claimed responsibility.
2 min read
07 March, 2019
Iraqi Shiite fighters of the Popular Mobilisation paramilitary force secure the Iraq-Syria border [AFP/Getty Images]

Militants attacked a bus in Iraq on Wednesday night carrying fighters from a Shia militia, killing at least six and wounding 31.

An official from the government-sanctioned Popular Mobilisation Forces (PMF) - known in Arabic as the Hashd al-Shaabi - said Islamic State group militants carried out the night ambush near the town of Makhmour, south of Mosul.  

No group has yet claimed responsibility, but IS militants regularly operate with insurgent hit-and-run attacks, taken up after the extremist group lost almost all its territory.

The three buses were on route from Mosul to a town near the oil-rich city of Kirkuk.

The high death toll in this attack - especially among Shia militias - is rare, said Reuters.

The Shia-dominated PMF were instrumental in the fight against the Islamic State group, as the jihadi militants back from the gates to Baghdad, and out of major cities across northern Iraq.

The Iran-backed force was established in 2014 after Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani urged Iraqi citizens to take up arms against IS militants who had swept aside government forces and seized control of much of northern Iraq, threatening the capital Baghdad itself.

Iraqi forces, backed by a US-led coalition, declared IS defeated in late 2017. Besieged in its last square mile in the eastern Syrian village of Baghouz, IS' complete territorial defeat in Syria is now also imminent.

Read also: The Islamic State group will be back after Baghouz

The group's sleeper cells still carry out deadly attacks in northern and western Iraq.

Experts have warned of a potential resurgence of IS following their military defeat.

The group's self declared "caliphate" ruled over an area the size of the UK at the height of its power in 2014, covering huge swathes of Iraq and Syria. 

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