Attacks on oil security blamed on Islamic State group expose gap in securing northern Iraq

Two small arms attacks on oil security forces over past two days are the latest in Kirkuk area security gaps exploited by suspected Islamic State group militants.
Attacks on oil security blamed on Islamic State group expose gap in securing northern Iraq
A member of the Iraqi security forces holds his weapon during a raid and weapons search operation in Hawija on April 24, 2014. (YAHYA AHMAD/Reuters)

A senior oil security official was targeted for assassination near a pipeline south of Kirkuk this week, one of the latest in a series of attacks, blamed on so-called Islamic State (IS) militants, which continue to highlight the group's ability to operate in northern Iraq.

A day later, a guard post at a degassing station near the Khabbaz oil field, southwest of Kirkuk, was attacked, which is also being blamed on the IS group.

Such attacks throughout the disputed territories of Kirkuk, Diyala, and Salahaddin provinces – in the vicinity of oil fields and other energy infrastructure, against security forces, in villages during the night, from the IS holding ground of cave-and-mountain terrain – have averaged a half dozen a week this year, a senior Peshmerga official said.

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