Kurdish leader says he fears Islamic State comeback in Iraq

a person wearing a suit and tie sitting in a chair: Lahur Talabany, co-leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, is seen during an interview with Reuters in Sulaymaniyah © Reuters/AMINA ISMAIL Lahur Talabany, co-leader of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party, is seen during an interview with Reuters in Sulaymaniyah

By Michael Georgy and Amina Ismail

SULAIMANIYA, Iraq (Reuters) - A senior Kurdish official has said there are growing indications that Islamic State is trying to make a comeback after an uptick in attacks in Iraq.

At least 19 members of Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish security forces have been killed in recent days across the country, according to military statements and security officials, prompting calls from Iraq's president to remain vigilant to the threat of a resurgent Islamic State.

The attacks come after Baghdad's deadliest suicide bombing in three years, claimed in January by the ultra hardline Sunni Islamist group, and amid fears that a reduction of U.S.-led forces could upset stability.

"It seems like (Islamic State) have re-organized," Lahur Talabany, co-president of the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan party and a former intelligence chief told Reuters in an interview.

Originally an offshoot of al Qaeda, Islamic State took large swathes of Iraq and Syria from 2014, imposing a reign of terror with public beheadings and attacks by supporters abroad.

Islamic State was declared militarily defeated in 2017 but has since waged a steady insurgency across parts of northern Iraq and a porous border with neigbouring Syria.

Recent months have witnessed more than 25 deadly attacks that Iraqi officials attribute to Islamic State militants. The January bombing of a crowded Baghdad market killed more than 30 people.

Talabany said Islamic State had never been completely eliminated.


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Kurdish leader says he fears Islamic State comeback in Iraq