Conflicts & War

IS increases activity in Iraq during Ramadan, coronavirus crisis

Baghdad, May 9 (efe-epa).- Iraq has witnessed a spike in the activity from the Islamic State terror organization over the past few weeks, coinciding with Ramadan and the deployment of the military to implement measures against coronavirus.

Security forces in Iraq, however, say the increase of activity was due to the IS’ weakness.

Iraqi security forces have endured seven attacks during Ramadan, which began on 23 April, according to the official Security Media Cell, although other sources raised the tally to over 30.

The Joint Operations Command spokesperson, Tahsin al-Khafaji, confirmed to Efe that IS has attacked security forces and infrastructure, although he denied any “invasion.”

It is a “guerrilla war” rather than a “Ramadan invasion” or a regroup attempt, he added.

On 23 April, Iraqi Defense Minister Najeh al-Shamri said there was “an increase in the terror operations recently”.

 The spike came amid as the focus of military and security forces shifted to the coronavirus lockdown.

It also coincides with the withdrawal of the US-led International Coalition amid increasing tension with pro-Iranian militias after the killing of the Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani in an airstrike in Baghdad on 3 January. 

“The organization is very weak and it is trying to take advantage of any situation in order to affect and confuse the security situation,” he added.

Furthermore, he added that Abdullah Qardash, who is thought to be the IS leader in Iraq, “raised the morale of the terrorist organization.”

“Qardash is trying to establish his presence by launching many operations, raising the morale of the organization and proving his loyalty to terrorist organization and this is another reason that we mentioned for the return of terrorist operations,” he said.

The security forces have attacked the organization’s hideout in “the desert, valleys, mountains or islands in the Tigris River,” he added.

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