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IS roadside bomb kills civilians fleeing Iraq town

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Iraqi displaced families step down from a truck upon their arrival in an area controlled by the Peshmerga forces, some 55 kilometres west of Iraqi city of Kirkuk, on August 21, 2016 after they left their northern village of Hawija to escape from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. / AFP PHOTO / Marwan IBRAHIM

Iraqi displaced families step down from a truck upon their arrival in an area controlled by the Peshmerga forces, some 55 kilometres west of Iraqi city of Kirkuk, on August 21, 2016 after they left their northern village of Hawija to escape from Islamic State (IS) group jihadists. / AFP PHOTO / Marwan IBRAHIM

Six Iraqi civilians were killed on Monday when a bomb planted by the Islamic State group went off as they tried to flee the Hawijah area, security officials said.

Thousands of people have been fleeing IS rule in Hawijah, which lies about 220 kilometres (140 miles) north of Baghdad, in recent weeks.

“Six civilians were killed and five wounded by an IED (improvised explosive device),” a colonel in the Kurdish peshmerga forces told AFP.

“It happened during an attempt by families to flee areas southeast of Kirkuk and reach peshmerga positions,” he said, speaking on condition of anonymity.

“Among them were women and children,” he added.

Other local officials confirmed the information.

Much of the area is littered by bombs and booby traps rigged by IS to prevent movements by Iraqi security forces.

The jihadists have repeatedly tried to prevent an exodus of the population before a government military operation to retake their areas.

In June this year, IS fighters opened fire on families trying to slip out of the city of Fallujah as Iraqi security forces prepared to move in.

A provincial official in charge of displaced people, Ammar Sabah, said 650 people who had successfully escaped IS areas were taken to camps east of Kirkuk on Sunday.

Peshmerga fighters and allied forces have been tightening the noose around Hawijah and neighbouring villages that IS has controlled since June 2014.

More and more civilians have fled Hawijah and its surroundings lately, with Sabah putting the number at 3,000 over the past week alone.


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IraqIslamic State
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