ISIS sleeper cells awaking to spread chaos in Iraq’s Kirkuk
Small ISIS cells have been increasing their activity, mostly kidnappings and murders, targeting civilians and government institutions in the Kirkuk province of northern Iraq. Authorities have suggested the group is working to destabilize the area and pave the way for their resurgence. One official in the area said that it is specifically targeting “the vital areas that are crowded with civilians as well as some government institutions whose work is directly linked to the lives of citizens.” These cells are thought to be receiving support from remnants of IS leadership hiding in and near the Hamrin mountain range. Insurgents in these cells have also stopped wearing their traditional uniforms and have shaved their beards, helping them to blend in with the local populations. These developments underscore the continued threat posed by IS and the difficult efforts still faced by local security forces to root them out and eradicate them.