Insurgents use intimidation to amplify influence

Islamic State militants thrive in large security gaps across northern Iraq, moving freely among villages, shopping for supplies, and using threats to enforce compliance.
Iraqi security forces check the damage at the site of an attack involving a moped laden with explosives against a convoy carrying an Iraqi election candidate in the city of Kirkuk, on April 15, 2018. (MARWAN IBRAHIM/AFP/Getty Images)

In the village of Fariq, southeast of Kirkuk, the militants of the self-proclaimed Islamic State (IS) group entered the local mosque with an air of casual confidence that shocked the assembling worshipers.

"They positioned themselves among the rows of worshipers and joined the collective prayer," said one resident who was there.

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