Islamic State Rallying in Hawija for Attacks on Salahuddin Oilfields

According to a source familiar with the governorate of Kirkuk, who asked to be named on condition of anonymity, has claimed the Islamic State is currently amassing troops in Hawija city for an attack on oilfields in the province of Salahuddin. These include the often-attacked A’las and A’jil oilfields just east of Tikrit.

The source, in an interview obtained by Beyond The Levant was quoted as saying “a number of vehicles and dozens of members of Al (Daash), today in Hawija descended upon the oilfields south of Kirkuk.” The same source has also said IS militants are strengthening their defenses in Bashir, which the Iraqi government is preparing to attack.

The source pointed out,” the organization has begun to focus its attacks on the axis south of Mosul (Mahkmour), in which American troops, Iraqi army, and Peshmerga are stationed.

This comes as Federal police repelled an IS attack on Makhoul hills, killing 4 suicide bombers. News agency ABNA has claimed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi arrived in Hawija city on March 16th.

A leader within al-Hashed al-Sha’bi said on Tuesday, that the ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi arrived in the outskirts of Hawija southwest of Kirkuk after a setback in four failed attacks within 72 hours, while called the leadership of the army’s Air Force to intensify its raids in that area.

Jabbar Mamouri, the leader within al-Hashed al-Sha’bi militia, said in a statement that “We have reliable information that the leader of ISIS Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi arrived in Hawija region and held important meetings with the rest of the field leaders that had been killed in four failed attacks, targeting Alas and Ajil fields, over the past 72 hours.”

Mamouri added, “The arrival of al-Baghdadi in Hawija is an indication of the critical situation of the ISIS as well as the loss of morale and the emergence of mass escape that led to the collapse of several lines of defense in Sharqat,” calling “the [army’s] Air Force to invest the presence of al-Baghdadi by intensifying air strikes in order to eliminate the head of the snake.”

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