Kirkuk (IraqiNews.com) Several Islamic State members were killed and wounded after internal splits ignited infighting among the militants in Kirkuk, a security source was quoted saying Friday.
Alsumaria News quoted the source saying that violent armed clashes erupted Friday between IS members from Haija and others positioned in Abbassi region (35 Km southwest of Kirkuk), leaving many dead and injured.
“The clashes took place over disagreements regarding the distribution of ranks and allegiance to Baghdadi,” the source said, referring to the group’s supreme leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
Hawija and other neighboring areas in southwest Kirkuk have been under Islamic State control since 2014, when the group emerged to proclaim an Islamic “caliphate” in Iraq and Syria.
Local tribal leaders and politicians from Kirkuk have mounted pressure on the Iraqi government to hasten with invading Hawija, suggesting that its people were experiencing a humanitarian crisis under the group’s rule. Having concluded its campaign in Mosul, the Iraqi government is planning to launch further offensives at other IS pockets across Iraq, including Hawija.
Occasional reports have spoken about internal divisions, clash of ranks and dissent attempts among Islamic State members as Iraqi troops made victories in their campaigns targeting IS holdouts. There had also been occasional assassinations of IS leaders which some reports linked to disputes among the militants.