Iraqi official: 36% of Diyala’s residents return to ‘liberated’ province

An Iraqi Army helicopter flies over the city of Baquba, the capital of Iraq’s Diyala province, 35 miles (60 kilometers) northeast of Baghdad, Iraq. (File photo: AP)

The head of the security committee in Diyala province, Sadiq al-Husssaini, said on Saturday that 36 percent of the families who fled to escape Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants’ assault have returned, the local al-Sumaria News website reported.

“Official reports indicate that 36 percent [of those who fled] have returned to the liberated areas in the past months in Diyala,” he said, adding “there are around 17 thousand families waiting the decision for them to return back.”

Iraq announced in January that Iraqi forces had “liberated” Diyala, significant parts of which had been overrun by ISIS after the militants launched a brutally effective offensive last June.

But even if ISIS no longer fully controls towns in Diyala, militants can still carry out deadly bombings in the province, as they have for years.

Last Update: Saturday, 27 June 2015 KSA 13:28 - GMT 10:28