Kurdistan Region Security Council (KRSC) said late Thursday that its forces, in coordination with the global coalition against the Islamic State (ISIS) and Iraqi forces, killed four members of the group who were allegedly behind the deadly attack against Peshmerga forces in Erbil province late last year.
ISIS attacked Peshmerga forces in Liheban and Khidirjija villages in Qarachogh area in Makhmour district late December 2. Ten Peshmerga fighters as well as three civilians, all brothers, were killed as a result. The youngest of the brothers was 11 years old. The incident was locally and internationally condemned.
ISIS had claimed responsibility for the attack, adding that all the dead were members of Peshmerga forces.
The KRSC said in a video late Thursday that its forces killed four ISIS fighters who took part in the deadly attack in December, identifying two of them.
“Following detailed investigation and based on intelligence, the hideouts of the terrorists were identified which were located in areas under the federal government’s control. On the evening of July 5, 2022, in coordination with the coalition forces and the Iraqi forces, we were able to target Hachim Mohammed Rasheed Rabi’ al-Ashaqi and three other fellow terrorists and give them the right punishment,” it said, adding that Ashaqi was the head of ISIS fighters in Qarachogh.
The Kurdish security council identified one of the deceased ISIS fighters as Salih Mahmoud Atiya al-Jabouri who it said was the head of ISIS checkpoints on Mount Qarachogh.
The KRSC also arrested a Kurdish taxi driver who confessed to have aided the deceased ISIS fighters by selling them essentials like rice, sugar and communication means.
Kazim Ismael, one of the brothers of the killed villagers, told Rudaw at the time that ISIS fighters surrounded their house. “We fought with all the strength we had, we resisted but unfortunately they were martyred.”
Kurdistan Region Prime Minister Masrour Barzani visited the house of the Kurdish family hours after the incident. “Some steps have been taken to form two joint brigades to fill the [security] gap that is being talked about, but the necessary practical steps have not been taken until now,” he said.
ISIS seized control of swaths of land in Iraq in 2014. It was declared territorially defeated in 2017, but continues to carry out bombings, hit-and-run attacks, and abductions across several provinces. Peshmerga officials have blamed the deadly ISIS attacks on a lack of coordination between them and Iraqi forces in the disputed areas.