Conflicts & War

IS torches farmland, launches attacks in eastern Iraq

Baghdad, May 12 (efe-epa).- The Islamic State burnt farmland in the eastern Iraqi province of Diyala in a series of attacks on civilians and militias on Tuesday amid escalating activities from the terror organization.

IS set fire to 2.5 hectares of wheat farms and abducted two farmers in the province which has witnessed frequent strikes by the extremists, Iraq’s Security Media Cell said.

Over the past few years, the extremists have claimed responsibility for the torching of thousands of hectares of farmland in Iraq during the harvest season.

Iraq’s civil defense denounced last year that over the summer, nearly 100,000 hectares of farmlands were burnt due to human errors, short-circuits and “actions of the jihadist groups”.

The terrorist group also launched a series of attacks that killed at least six people over the past 24 hours, including four civilians, Lieutenant Colonel Mohamed Jasem told Efe on Tuesday.

Two of the pro-government armed group of Popular Mobilization Forces were killed when an explosive device targeted their patrol, which Jasem blamed on IS.

The Shiite-majority forces have played a crucial role in the fight against the terror group since 2014, backing the Iraqi uniformed troops.

Although Iraqi authorities announced military victory over IS in December 2017, which had controlled vast territories of the country since 2014, some cells are still active particularly in the northern and northwestern regions of the country.

Over the past few weeks, the Iraqi government warned that IS operations have increased amid the coronavirus crisis, the Islamic holy month of Ramadan and the withdrawal of United States-led coalition troops from military bases in the country.

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

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