Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi announced Thursday that the country’s security forces had killed Abu Yaser al-Issawi, one of the Islamic State (IS) commanders in the country.
The Prime Minister made the announcement on his social networks. “We promise and deliver. I gave my word that we would pursue Daesh terrorists [nome também usado para se referir ao grupo], we gave them a resounding response, ”he wrote. ISIS has yet to comment.
“If this is indeed confirmed, this is significant news, al-Issawi led the entire IS operation in Iraq,” said Charles Lister, director of the Institute for Middle Studies. – East in Washington, on Twitter. “It is worth waiting for more substantial evidence (…) the previous claims have already been shown to be false.”
Last week, 32 people were killed by two suicide bombers in a market in central Baghdad. It was the deadliest action in three years in the Iraqi capital – and authorship was claimed by ISIS.
Three years ago, in the same place, an attack killed 31 people. As before, the action took place as the country discussed the organization of legislative elections, an event which in Iraq is often accompanied by violence.
An early election for the formation of a new parliament had been promised by the government in June, but the authorities are now proposing a postponement until October, in order to give more time to the Election Commission to organize the vote.
The attack followed a pattern widely used by the Islamic State, which occupied nearly a third of Iraq, but lost virtually all of the territory it controlled.
After the defeats, ISIS cells took refuge in the mountainous and desert regions of the country. In recent months, the radical group has resumed only small-scale actions in Iraq, usually carried out at night, against military positions far from cities.
Iraqi officials said last week’s attack was a possible sign the group is recovering from the 2017 military defeat. It also happened hours after Joe Biden took office as US president – Washington maintains around 2,500 troops in Iraq primarily to help combat the group. .
The United States is reducing the number of troops in the country thanks to an agreement signed between the two countries, and Washington does not intend to maintain permanent military bases in Iraq. The United States has led an international coalition that has been active in the country since 2014 to fight ISIS. However, almost all of the troops of other coalition members left Iraqi territory in 2020, due to the pandemic.