Takfiri ISIL militants have reportedly abducted nearly three dozen refugee families in the northern Iraqi province of Kirkuk as the latter were heading back to their homes in the city of Tikrit four months after its liberation.
A local police source, speaking on condition of anonymity, said ISIL terrorists kidnapped 35 families, among them women, children and elderly people, as they were traveling from the town of Hawijah in Kirkuk to Tikrit, situated 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of Baghdad, on Monday evening, the al-Sumaria satellite television network reported.
The source added that ISIL members took the people to an unknown location in the Hamrin Mountains, adding that the fate of the abductees remains unclear.
On March 31, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said units of government forces, backed by Shia and Sunni volunteer forces, had managed to retake control of Tikrit – which is the provincial capital of Salahuddin Province – from ISIL Takfiris.
In a separate development, at least eight civilians lost their lives and 20 others sustained injuries as mortar rounds fired by ISIL militants slammed into the al-Hadid neighborhood of Khalis town, situated 75 kilometers (46 miles) northeast of Baghdad.
Khalis’ Deputy Mayor Uday al-Kadran said security personnel had located the source of the projectiles in al-Kasasbeh district of the town, and had subsequently completely destroyed the launching site.
The northern and western parts of Iraq have been plagued by violence ever since ISIL began its march through the Iraqi territory in June 2014.
Iraqi soldiers, police units, Kurdish forces, and Shia and Sunni volunteers are engaged in battles with the terrorists to drive them out of the areas they have under control.