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Islamic State awakens sleeper cells in Iraq's Kirkuk

The Islamic State is gradually rekindling its terrorist activities in Iraq through sleeper cells in Kirkuk province, where security is already stretched thin by political unrest.
TOPSHOT - Kirkuk provincial Governor, Najm al-Din Karim (C), walks on October 22, 2016 alongside police and Kurdish security forces as he visits the damaged sites where fighting against Islamic State (IS) jihadists took place in the centre the Kurdish-controlled city of Kirkuk.
Security forces battled for a second day with Islamic State gunmen who infiltrated Kirkuk in a brazen raid that rattled Iraq as it ramped up an offensive to retake Mosul. / AFP / Marwan IBRAHIM        (Photo credit should read MARWAN
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Islamic State affiliates have increased their activity in Kirkuk province in northern Iraq and are said to be focused on attacking civilians and government institutions. Authorities believe IS seeks to destabilize security and re-establish itself after being defeated by Iraqi security and international coalition forces.

The group has been operating for months on Kirkuk's outskirts but has stepped up its efforts recently, kidnapping and killing civilians and carrying out random attacks. On June 27, an IS-affiliated group of five used light weapons to attack some villages in the Daqouk district in southern Kirkuk, killing one civilian and wounding others. Also on June 27, five people from the provinces of Anbar and Karbala who were kidnapped while working with security forces in Kirkuk were found executed on the Kirkuk-Baghdad road.

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