ISIS attack kills 13 policemen in Iraq: Medical, security sources

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Thirteen Iraqi policemen were killed in an ISIS attack against a checkpoint in the country’s north early Sunday, security and medical sources said.

The attack, in the region of al-Rashad around 65 kilometers (40 miles) south of Kirkuk city, took place just after midnight, a senior Iraqi police officer told AFP.

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“Members of [ISIS] targeted a federal police checkpoint,” said the officer, who did not want to be named.

“Thirteen were killed and three wounded” among the security forces, the officer added. A medical source based in Kirkuk confirmed the toll.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

ISIS seized swathes of Iraq in a lightning offensive in 2014, before being beaten back by a counter-insurgency campaign supported by a US-led military coalition.

The Iraqi government declared the extremists defeated in late 2017, but they retain sleeper cells which continue to hit security forces with asymmetric attacks.

Extremist cells regularly target the Iraqi army and police in northern Iraq, but this attack was one of the most deadly this year.

A July 19 bombing claimed by ISIS officially killed 30 people in the al-Woheilat market in Sadr City, a Shia suburb of Baghdad.

International coalition troops in Iraq currently number around 3,500, of which 2,500 are US troops.

But Washington has been drawing down its military presence amid attacks on facilities it uses by Iran-aligned armed groups and has said that from next year the role of US troops will be limited to training and advising their Iraqi counterparts.

Last Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron visited Iraqi Kurdistan and expressed concern about an ISIS “resurgence” in both Iraq and Syria.

He also said that French soldiers deployed in Iraq as part of the international coalition will remain in the country “no matter what choices the Americans make.”

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