Baiji (IraqiNews.com) Two Islamic State suicide attackers were killed in an overnight foiled attack against a village in the city of Baiji, Salahuddin, according to a police official.
Saad Nafous al-Hamad, commander of Baiji police, said the attackers targeted the village of Malha, but were held off by police and tribal troops at the dawn of Friday.
Al-Hamad said two of the attackers, vested with explosive belts, were killed, while three civilians were lightly wounded.
Islamic State has stepped up attacks in Salahuddin and neighboring Diyala over the past months as Iraqi government forces continue to make gains in Mosul, IS’s largest stronghold in Iraq, since a security campaign launched in October to retake the city.
Observers believe IS attacks outside Mosul aim at distracting security attention from Mosul and to make up for losses.
The Iraqi government is expected to launch further campaigns to retake areas still held by the militants in Salahuddin, Anbar, Diyala and Kirkuk.
The United Nations Assistance Mission in Iraq (UNAMI) says 1115 people died in violence across the country during March.
On Thursday, Udai al-Kahdran, mayor of al-Khales town in Diyala, said in a press statement the borders between Salahuddin and Diyala continue to pose a security challenge that requires military action to eliminate the group’s pockets at the abandoned villages.