Shafaq News/ A local government official in Diyala warned of "mass displacement" from the villages located in the northwest of al-Azim sub-district at the borders with Saladin governorate, particularly after ISIS militants secured a way to the Diyala-Kirkuk strategic highway.
The Deputy Commissioner (DC) of al-Khalis sub-district, Ali al-Khadran, told Shafaq News Agency, "67 kilometers long of Diyala borders with Saladin are not secured because of the overlapping competencies and uncoordinated security mandates between the Operations Commands of Samarra and Saladin."
"Diyala border areas in Mutaybeja, al-Meita, Sbei'at, al-Bu Khalil, and al-Bu Juma'a are infested with dozens of ISIS operatives. They move freely because of the lack of efficacious security operations rather than brief demonstrations after every incident that ends by the end of the solace councils of the victims."
Al-Khadran hinted at "ISIS endeavors to traverse through the villages in the northwest of al-Azim sub-district towards Diyala-Kirkuk strategic road by waging continuous violent attacks on al-Bu Bakr village, the shortest way to traverse Diyala."
"Al-Bu Bakr attacks resulted in killing 17, injuring 23, and destroying five thermographic cameras," he elaborated.
"The main reason for the frequent terrorist attacks between Diyala and Saladin is handing the army forces the security file there in 2018. Between 2015 and 2018, the area was 100% secured by al-Hashd al-Shaabi," as he put it.
Al-Khalis DC warned of a "new mass displacement of the villages re-inhabited after the liberation battles in 2015, risking evacuating it again and rendering it hideouts and headquarters of the terrorist groups again."
A group of ISIS terrorists waged an attack last Sunday on a site of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces-PMF), followed by another on the residence of a PMF fighter. The attacks resulted in killing three persons, including a woman, and injuring four others.
Yesterday, the administrator of al-Azim sub-district, Abdul-Jabber Ahmed al-Obaidi, called on the security authorities to "urgently and effectively" address the security gaps and "death hotbeds" between Diyala and Saladin, and clear "al-Azim Basin" from undercover ISIS cells.
The administrator of the volatile sub-district in northern Diyala said, "we repeatedly demanded the security authorities to address the wide security gaps at Diyala-Saladin borders from ISIS hotbeds, and clear al-Azim basin from the mobile and undercover ISIS cells."
"ISIS terrorists there are less than 20. They jeopardize the security of the entire sub-district," he added, "we demand repatriating 17 villages that have displaced since 2014, and arming them to protect the northwest front of Diyala."
Al-Obaidi deemed yesterday's attack a "result of the security negligence to dangerous and security fragile territories for many years despite our repeated demands."
Security authorities failed to clear the ISIS cells from al-Azim despite dozens of security operations. Observers believe that the sub-district located at the border with Saladin is infested with undiscovered fortified ISIS sites.