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Three civilians killed during attack in southwestern Kirkuk Province

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At 22:15 on 24 June, IS gunmen attacked Wardiyah Village of Abbasi Sub-District, southwest of Hawija. At least three civilians identified as teenage males were shot and killed. The gunmen subsequently fled towards Shajara Village and likely staging grounds along the Makhul Mountains in adjacent areas of Salah ad Din Province. ISF responded and heightened security measures in the area. Increased security operations are expected in relevant areas, including the enduring potential for inflated security successes.

The 24 June attack stands out as the deadliest direct fire attack targeting civilians in Kirkuk Province thus far in 2019. Some considerations may have involved IS intent to conduct a hasty and indiscriminate headlining attack intended to overshadow the losses sustained during recent operations. Proximity to IS staging grounds in adjacent areas of northern Salah ad Din Province formed another consideration for relevant capabilities. It is unclear if the three teenage males killed in the raid had any affiliations with a local stakeholder. Given the limited details, it is also possible that the teenagers were exposed along the outskirts of the village. That said, a distinct lapse in security cannot be discounted.

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