A damaged building after clashes is seen in Sinjar, Iraq February 6, 2019.
(photo credit: REUTERS/KHALID AL MOUSILY)
Three ISIS members surrounded by security forces and local paramilitaries blew themselves up on Sunday, in the northern Iraqi city of Sinjar.
The incident comes days after the US and Syrian Democratic Forces announced the defeat of ISIS in neighboring Syria. The incident illustrates the continued presence of ISIS threats in Iraq.
The battle began in the morning, according to local reports. The men were fleeing from Syria and had entered the area of Sinjar near the border. This area is still largely destroyed due to the war on ISIS; most of its civilian population, which used to be members of the Yazidi minority, have been unable to return due to the instability.
According to Sky News Arabia, the ISIS members were hiding out in the town of Kairouan (Qayrawan). “Our security forces from the army and the Popular Mobilization Forces of local tribes besieged three suicide bombers. They blew themselves up without causing any casualties [to our forces],” A spokesman for the Iraqi security forces told AFP.
A separate report said Iraq’s 29th Brigade had participated in the operation and that the suicide bombers had come via Iraq’s western Anbar desert. Other details indicated that as many as five ISIS members were killed in the gun battle, including the three wearing suicide vests. Photos, that could not be confirmed, showed bodies of the alleged ISIS members, one being dragged out of a house; others showed smoke and a damaged vehicle, but it was unclear if the vehicle had been damaged during this particular battle.
The battle is one of the worst in the area of Sinjar in recent memory. It comes as there are increased tensions in Sinjar between a local affiliate of the Kurdistan Workers Party and the Iraqi federal forces. The Yazidi minority who suffered genocide at the hands of ISIS has been asking to return, but the instability in Sinjar means much of the city and towns are still in ruins. More than 300,000 Yazidis still live in IDP camps years after the genocide – even after the defeat of ISIS.
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