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ISIS behind brutal attack in Salah al-Din province, Iraq military says

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ISIS behind brutal attack in Salah al-Din province, Iraq military says

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The attack took place in the predominantly Sunni village of Albu-Dour, in Salah al-Din province, about 84 kilometers north of the Iraqi capital. The area is under the control of Shiite-led paramilitary forces in Iraq, also known as People’s Mobilization Units (PMUs).

ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack in a statement released Friday. The group said several Islamic State militants carried out three separate attacks, including one where they “assaulted a house” in a village north of Baghdad and shot dead six family members.

They called some of those related to the people they killed who worked in the Popular Mobilization Units “spies”.

ISIS released photos of the raid, including images of some of the victims. Iraqi security officials confirmed to CNN that they were the victims.

The terrorist group also killed a local police officer and a lawyer in two separate attacks on the same village, according to the Iraqi military statement.

Iraqi security officials said that during the investigation “they have concluded that the perpetrators of the crime were elements of the ISIS terrorist group who infiltrated the village on foot while wearing military uniforms on the pretext of searching for records in the victims’ homes.” according to the statement.

The attack took place a few days later Pope Francis’ historic visit to Iraq, on which he spread messages of peace and religious tolerance.

Amar al-Jaber, the governor of Salah al-Din, told CNN on Saturday that he had asked Iraqi Interior Minister Othman Al-Ghanimi, who was visiting the area on Saturday, to allow local police take full control of security in the area instead of PMUs. Al-Ghanimi accepted the measure, pending approval by the prime minister.

Al-Jaber said paramilitary forces did a great job fighting ISIS between 2014 and 2017, but now it is time for local police to take responsibility with the support of the Iraqi army.

In a statement Friday, al-Jaber strongly condemned the “cowardly attack” and said that “the security of the citizens and the security of the province are a red line, and we will not allow Salah al-Din to be a fire for the repetition of such heinous crimes. “

“The perpetrators of these accidents will receive their fair punishments, whoever they are and whatever the reasons, and investigations are underway at their highest levels,” the governor said.

In December 2017, the Iraqi army declared that it had “completely liberated” the entire Iraqi territory from “ISIS terrorist gangs” with the support of the U.S.-led coalition and that it had regained full control of the Iraqi border with Syria; however, ISIS militants can still stage deadly sporadic attacks in the country.

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