ISIS Sleeper Cells Re-Appear at the Gates of Baghdad

This article was originally published by Niqash. Any opinions expressed are those of the author, and do not necessarily reflect the views of Iraq Business News.

The fight against the extremist Islamic State group goes on in rural areas around Baghdad. And security forces are enlisting the aid of locals to finish the job.

Something happens almost daily: A suicide bomber trying to blow himself up is thwarted by a soldier at a roadblock, who shoots him before he can detonate his explosives. Another suicide bomber tries again only a few meters away but is stopped in the same way, by a different soldier.

The local media are not covering these events in the Tarmiyah district, an area that is often described as being part of the Baghdad belt, the ring of more rural towns and neighbourhoods around the Iraqi capital. However, locals on social media continuously document the events. And according to their reports, there are one or two incidents every day, involving snipers, masked gunmen, explosives or a suicide bomber.

The reports are often confirmed by local security forces - for example, on July 8, a US-led team attacked what was later confirmed to be an IS cell in Tarmiyah; seven IS fighters were killed in the raid - as well as by news agencies or other media associated with the IS group that are also publishing reports of IS "successes" in Tarmiyah.

The fact that this is happening in Tarmiyah has surprised some. The Iraqi military conducted a special operation here in April to try and hunt down IS members who might still be in the neighbourhood; the area has been mostly clear of IS since late 2014.

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