Between 400 and 500 IS jihadists still active in Iraq

According to a senior Iraqi military official, the Islamic State (IS) group has between 400 and 500 active fighters in Iraq. UN estimates, unveiled in a report published in February, mentioned “5,000 to 7,000 members and supporters” deployed between Iraq and Syria, of which “about half” would be combatants.

After a meteoric rise in power in 2014, the IS saw its self-proclaimed “caliphate” waver under the blow of successive offensives launched in these two countries with the support of an international anti-jihadist coalition. At the end of 2017, Iraq declared its military victory against the jihadists, who had once conquered almost a third of its territory.

A training camp dismantled at the end of February

However, IS cells continue to sporadically target security forces and civilians. General Qais al-Mohamadawi, deputy commander of the joint operations cell, which oversees the cooperation of Iraqi security forces with the international anti-jihadist coalition, estimated that “the total number of IS members does not exceed 400 to 500 combatants, in three or four provinces”.

“The IS organization has lost its ability to attract new recruits,” he added at a press conference. The general referred to an operation carried out on February 26, which made it possible to dismantle a “training camp” in the western Iraqi desert. 22 jihadists were killed during this intervention.

A UN report published in February for the Security Council assured that in Iraq, the EI still operates “in mountainous rural areas, where it exploits the porosity of the Iraqi-Syrian border and maintains sufficient maneuverability to escape attacks. Iraqi forces.

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According to this report, the jihadists are deployed in an “operational theatre” covering the regions of Kirkuk, Diyala, Salaheddine and the northern outskirts of Baghdad, where IS is targeting “members of the security forces, local notables and civilians”.

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