Islamic State (IS) militants executed at least seven civilians near Baqubah (Diyala province), according to reports published on Friday, July 6. The executed civilians were previously kidnapped after IS fighters erected a fake security checkpoint on the Baqubah-Buhriz road. Security forces are reportedly searching for the militants responsible for the killings. IS fighters may attempt to carry out additional abductions and executions in Diyala province in the near-term.
In a similar incident, IS militants abducted and killed eight security forces personnel in June after erecting a fake checkpoint on the Kirkuk-Baghdad highway.
Although Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi claimed victory over IS in December 2017, the group retains a degree of freedom of movement in parts of the country, particularly in western and northern Iraq. IS militants continue to carry out attacks, notably against security forces. High-profile attacks often prompt equally significant security responses, including enhanced checkpoint operations and more proactive operations, with resulting effects on transit.
The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.