Three suicide attacks claimed by Islamic State killed at least 60 people in southern Iraq on Thursday, a health official and police sources said, suggesting a shift in the ultra-hardline group’s tactics since it lost control of its stronghold in Mosul.
Iraqi and Kurdish security officials say the Sunni militants are likely to wage a guerrilla war in Iraq after their self-proclaimed caliphate in Mosul collapsed.
Islamic State is also under siege in the Syrian city of Raqqa, its operational base for attacks in the Middle East and the West.
Security officials described Thursday’s attacks as an attempt to send a message to Islamic State followers that the group is still strong and can operate in other parts of Iraq following its territorial losses.
“After losing the war in Iraq and the shrinking of its power, Daesh returned back to its old style of an insurgency, by carrying out suicide attacks, which is a clear sign that the terrorist group is retreating,” said police intelligence colonel Murtatha al-Yassiri.
According to the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI), a total of 125 Iraqi civilians lost their lives, and 188 others were injured as a result of terrorist attacks and other acts of violence across Iraq in the month of August.
The UN mission, however, did not mention the number of Iraqi police forces, who were killed or sustained injuries during last month’s acts of violence.
A large number of the fatalities were recorded in the capital province of Baghdad, where 45 civilians were killed and 135 others wounded during the same period.
Iraqi army and pro-government fighters from the Popular Mobilization Units, commonly known as Hashd al-Sha’abi, are engaged in joint operations to win back militant-held areas of the country.
Iraq’s Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said on August 31 that the northern city of Tal Afar and the entire Nineveh province had been purged of Daesh Takfiri terrorist group.
The recapture of Tal Afar was made possible with the help of the Iraqi army, Federal Police, counter-terrorism units, volunteer troops, and Rapid Response Forces, Abadi added.