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Security concern rises in Kirkuk


10-26-2016 12:11 BJT

In the fight against ISIL, recently all attention has been on the Mosul offensive aiming to liberate the city from the militants. The pressure was clearly working as the group in turn tried to divert focus by attacking Kirkuk over the weekend. It has exposed a major security gap in the city and is raising concerns among residents.

Shattered windows, burned hotel walls, dozens of bullet holes, car wreckages—this is what is left behind after an ISIL attack in Kirkuk, Iraq. It began last Friday and lingered over the weekend, leaving nearly 100 citizens dead; both security officials and civilians.

ISIL militants used machine guns and explosives to carry out their mission - to create chaos, induce fear and push the local security forces to call for back up. Though the situation is under control, security and intelligence officers stress operations in the city continue.

“We will re-evaluate some areas and will tighten security, also a search process will start in Kirkuk, and more permission has been given to security forces to investigate people,” said Major General Halo Najat Hamza, director of Asayesh, Kurdish Inteligence Force.

Civilians also played a key role during the attacks s locals called police stations offering tips on ISIL militants hiding in buildings. Meanwhile, police officers remained defiant against ISIL. 

“They thought they can take Kirkuk, but their thoughts mean nothing, as long as we stand, we will put our chests in front of their bullets and will become shields to protect Kirkuk city, with all its ethnicities and nationalities,” said Colonel Farhad Fazil Mustafa, Manager of Kirkuk Police Station.

The damage exposed a security gap and many locals became concerned for their security. And though there are reports of some civilians looking to flee, some expressed would never considering abandoning their hometown.

“I never thought of leaving Kirkuk, if I ever left Kirkuk that means I am dead. And I should be buried without leaving Kirkuk,” said Kirkuk resident Omran Rafiq.

Kirkuk police arrested dozens of suspected ISIL militants in the city and many sleeper cells were revealed during the attack. As the fight against ISIL will continue to be focused on Mosul—following this attack, security is certainly on high alert in the city of Kirkuk as well.

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