Islamic State (ISIS) infiltrators are among civilians fleeing areas controlled by the militants for safe zones under the Peshmerga forces, posing a security threat to the Kurdistan Region, Kurdish commanders and security officials say.
With ISIS under attack in offensives by the Peshmerga, Iraqi forces and coalition air power in different parts of Iraq, more civilians are fleeing areas under the militants’ control, they say.
Security forces say they have arrested militants who were trying to slip in with civilians in order to carry out terrorist acts in Kurdistan.
“I was a resident of Big Mura and I was with ISIS there,” a former militant told Rudaw. I was an ISIS gunman for more than nine months and participated in the Kharaba Rut clashes twice and once in the clashes in Mullah Abdullah,” he said.
Some 4,000 civilians have fled areas under ISIS in Kirkuk, and security officials say there were at least 70 militants among that number.
“There were ISIS militants and spies among them or those who did business with ISIS,” said Ali Muhammad, head of security in the Kirkuk town of Dubz.
Kemal Kirkuki, a Peshmerga commander in Kirkuk, told Rudaw that some women were also among ISIS infiltrators.
“We have arrested both men and women among them who were actually terrorists. They had planned to carry out dangerous acts in the region,” he said.