Shafaq News/ The absence of population on the border areas between the southwest of Diyala and Baghdad and the lack of security presence contributed to the spread of ISIS strongholds, a local official said.
Officials in Diyala confirmed that about 30 villages between the southwest of the Governorate and the outskirts of Baghdad are uninhabited.
Behrouz district director Nizar al-Luhaibi told Shafaq News Agency, "Many villages between the borders of Kanaan and Buhruz districts and the border with Baghdad turned into hotbeds for ISIS remnants. People left the areas about 15 years ago due to al-Qaeda."
Al-Luhaibi added, "More than 500 families have been displaced since the violence and Al-Qaeda practices."
The local official stressed the importance of launching security operations to "cleanse" the area and return the displaced to help the security forces to uncover the activities of the terrorist remnants in the region.
In 2017, Iraq declared victory over ISIS after Iraqi forces drove its last remnants from the country; the militant group captured about a third of Iraq's territory.
The war has had a devastating impact on the areas previously controlled by the militants. About 3.2 million people remain displaced.
Yet, ISIS still has sleeper cells in several Iraqi Governorates.