Nine dead in suspected ISIS attack in Iraq as global threat grows

Six Iraqi security personnel and three civilians were killed in an ambush Saturday carried out by ISIS north of Baghdad, police and a local official said.

And in Nigeria a further five people were killed by Islamic State West Africa Province (ISWAP) fighters.

An Iraqi police source said a roadside bomb hit a car and that jihadists opened fire on a rescue team of policemen and state-aligned paramilitary forces when they arrived at the scene, about 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the capital.

Four members of the Hashed al-Shaabi and two policemen died along with three civilians, Mohammed Zidane, the mayor of Zouiya, 50 kilometres from the city of Tikrit, told AFP.

There was no immediate word of casualties among the assailants but Mr Zidane said those killed among the Hashed, a coalition of mainly Shiite forces, were Sunni tribesmen.

Both the mayor and police said the ambush was the work of ISIS jihadists, although no immediate claim of responsibility was issued.

ISIS swept across a third of Iraq in 2014, seizing major cities across the north and west and reaching the suburbs of the capital.

After a fierce three-year fight backed by a US-led military coalition, Iraq declared the group defeated in late 2017.

The coalition has significantly drawn down its troops this year and ISIS sleeper cells have continued to wage hit-and-run attacks in desert areas where troops are stretched thin.

Attacks with high tolls and close to the capital have been rare, however.

The latest attacks come as the United States announced that it will withdraw another 500 troops, reducing its deployment to 2,500 soldiers. Numbers were already depleted from an even greater reduction made just a few weeks ago in September.

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