- Two members of Iraqi security forces were killed, and three additional members wounded, Reuters reported Monday.
- Experts and members of the military have expressed concern about a potential ISIS resurgence in the wake of the chaotic US withdrawal from northeastern Syria.
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ISIS militants killed two members of the Iraqi security forces, Reuters reported Monday, in the wake of a panicked US drawdown in neighboring Syria which pushed US troops into Iraq. According to the Iraqi military, three additional security personnel were wounded when attempting to retrieve the bodies of the dead.
"Elements of the terrorist Daesh gangs attacked two security checkpoints in the Alas oilfields area of Salahuddin province, and an improvised explosive device blew up a vehicle belonging to security forces stationed there, leading to the martyrdom of two of them," a statement from the Iraqi military said, using the Arabic acronym for ISIS.
Iraqi security forces and the mostly Shia, Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) are on the hunt for the attackers, Reuters reports.
The attack comes as experts and members of the military have grown concerned about an ISIS comeback in Iraq and Syria; experts have warned about ISIS members breaking out of makeshift prisons in northeastern Syria guarded by the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) that are now facing Turkish attacks, and the Pentagon issued a report in 2018 showing that remaining ISIS members in both Iraq and Syria were not only still active, but resurging and adapting because of the Trump administration's actions in the region. Iraqi and US forces eliminated the group's territorial hold in Iraq in 2017, and the territorial caliphate as a whole was eliminated in March of 2019.
In response to criticism over the hasty retreat of US troops from Syria, US President Donald Trump has vociferously defended himself, saying in a Cabinet meeting on Monday that he is responsible for the capture of ISIS prisoners. "We. Not Obama. We. We captured them. Me," Trump said.
US soldiers leaving Syria were to be redeployed to the Iraq-Syria border to guard oil fields there and engage in a limited capacity against ISIS. However, the Iraqi government said Tuesday that US forces did not have the country's permission to deploy there, further complicating an already-chaotic situation .
Recently, ISIS has also staged an attack in Raqqa, Syria the former capital of the group's so-called caliphate against the SDF on Oct. 9, The Associated Press reported, and killed a dozen people in a bombing in Karbala, Iraq, a holy site for Shia Muslims.
- Most US troops left in Syria could be moved to Iraq as the Trump administration faces fallout over a possible ISIS resurgence
- Trump said his chaotic withdrawal from Syria had 'secured' the country's oil. It hasn't, and now the US is scrambling to protect a key oil-producing area.
- Trump's withdrawal from Kurdish region has opened the door to a new wave of war crimes