Nasty, New Neighbours in Iraq: How Close Will ISIS Extremists get to Baghdad?
At one stage it seemed as though the chances of the extremist group known as the Islamic State entering Baghdad were remote.
But now that the extremists have managed to take control of the city of Ramadi, about 100 kilometres away from the Iraqi capital, some are asking the question more seriously: Will the Islamic State, or IS, group start fighting their way toward Baghdad soon?
“Even though the extremists are closer, Baghdad is completely protected and there are no fears that it could fall to the IS group,”
Hakim al-Zameli, the head of the Iraqi Parliament’s National Security and Defence Committee told NIQASH. “Thousands of fighters are deployed in northern and western Baghdad to stop the IS group from getting into Baghdad.”
However al-Zameli also admitted that there had been some breaches in further away areas around Baghdad. Last Saturday, the IS group also managed to take control of the city of Husaybah, only about 85 kilometres away from Baghdad. And al-Zameli also confirmed that, as everybody suspects, the IS group have sleeper cells inside the city.
Which is probably why not everyone is reassured by those comments, especially not locals who live in areas that analysts believe the IS group will try to get into next. These areas might include the Taji and Tarimiya areas north of Baghdad, Amiriyat Al Fallujah and Abu Ghraib west of Baghdad and Jurf al-Sakhar,Yusufiyah and Latifiya south of Baghdad.
All of these are Sunni-majority areas and include a lot of agricultural land, which would allow the IS fighters, who subscribe to their own version of Sunni Islam, to hide and fight more easily.
“If the IS group manage to get in here they will kill many of us,” says Qais al-Janabi, a tribal leader from the Yusufiyah area; his tribe have not fought against the Iraqi army and he says that the IS group will consider them traitors.