Small Wars Journal

Iraqi Army Hunts ISIS Remnants Spreading Fear in Former ‘Caliphate’

Iraqi Army Hunts ISIS Remnants Spreading Fear in Former ‘Caliphate’ by Bram Janssen – Associated Press

It was a chilly January evening, and Khadija Abd and her family had just finished supper at their farm when the two men with guns burst into the room.

One wore civilian clothes, the other an army uniform. They said they were from the Iraqi army’s 20th Division, which controls the northern Iraqi town of Badoush. In fact, they were Islamic State group militants who had come down from the surrounding mountains into Badoush with one thing on their mind: Revenge.

Around 13 more gunmen were waiting outside. The fighters pulled Khadija’s husband and his two brothers into the yard and shot them dead, leaving them in a pool of blood — punishment for providing information to the Iraqi military.

“How can we live after this?” Khadija said. The three brothers were the providers for the entire family. “They left their children, their livestock, their wives and their elderly father who doesn’t know what to do now.”

A year and a half after the Islamic State group was declared defeated in Iraq, the militants still evoke fear in the lands of their former so-called caliphate across northern Iraq. The fighters, hiding in caves and mountains, emerge at night to carry out kidnappings, killings and roadside ambushes, aimed at intimidating locals, silencing informants and restoring the extortion rackets that financed ISIS’s rise to power six years ago…

Read on.