At least nine police officers were killed in a terrorist attack this Sunday which involved a bomb blast followed by gun shootings near Kirkuk, a city in northern Iraq.
This Sunday, and while the oil-rich city of Kirkuk in northern Iraq was spending a peaceful evening, a sudden bomb blast near the village of Chalal Al-Matar turned the area into a hot hell. The bomb attack was then immediately followed by a series of shootings at police officers who were around, leading to the death of at least nine.
Yahya Rasool, the spokesman of the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, announced in a statement that one Iraqi officer and eight other federal police forces were killed in the attack.
“In this attack, a heavy car carrying police officers was hit by a bomb and then the car and its passengers were shot with light weapons,” Rasool said in a statement. “An assailant has been killed and we are looking for the others,” he also noted, adding that two policemen were also wounded. An official from the Ministry of the Interior in Baghdad confirmed the attack.
In a statement issued via its telegram channel, ISIS accepted the responsibility for the attack. The terrorist group had previously claimed responsibility for the death of three Iraqi soldiers in an explosion of a roadside bomb near Baghdad on this past Wednesday.
ISIS is still a grave threat, UN says
ISIS once had more than 88,000 sq km (34,000 sq miles) of territory of Iraq and Syria under its control and imposed its brutal rule on almost eight million people.
But the Iraqi government declared victory over the terrorist group in December 2017, after its troops drove ISIS militants from the Syrian border zone where the Islamists’ final strongholds had been. The United Nations, however, warned this summer that the threat of ISIS is far from over, despite it was driven from its last territory in 2019.
Reports estimate that more than 6,000 and 10,000 of ISIS fighters are still in Syria and Iraq, basing mostly in rural areas and continuing to carry out hit-and-run attacks, ambushes and roadside bombings. Over the past weeks, ISIS has increased its attacks, around the world. The most prominent one was an attack on a hotel in Afghanistan’s Kabul last week, where Chinese citizens were staying. The three attackers were killed but about 20 people were also wounded, including at least five Chinese citizens.
Iran and Egypt were the first to condemn the terrorist attack
Iran and Egypt were among the first countries to rebuke the attack and express condolences to Iraqi people and government. In this regard, Nasser Kanani, Iran’s spokesman of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, considered the explosion and the shootings aftermath as a “terrorist attack” and called the killed Iraqi police officers “martyrs”.
“While condemning this act, the Islamic Republic of Iran expresses its sympathy with the government and people of Iraq, as well as their families, and wishes for the martyrs of this terrorist act to be exalted, and for the injured, a speedy recovery.” Kanani said in a statement this Monday.
In a similar statement, Egypt’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed condolences and sympathy to the government and people of Iraq. The ministry also affirmed Egypt’s solidarity and support for Iraq in the face of terrorism, pointing out that such despicable acts will only increase Iraq’s insistence on defeating terrorism.