BAGHDAD — The man wearing an explosive vest emerged from a car and calmly marched toward the gates of the intelligence building in Iraq’s northern city of Kirkuk. When he ignored their shouts to halt, guards opened fire, and he blew himself up, wounding three security personnel in the first week of Ramadan.
Days later, a three-pronged coordinated attack killed 10 Iraqi militia fighters in the northern province of Salahaddin — the deadliest and most complex operation in many months.
The assaults are the latest in a resurgence of attacks by the Islamic State group in northern Iraq. The first was a brazen suicide mission not seen in months. The second was among the most complex attacks since the group’s defeat in 2017. In neighboring Syria, IS attacks on security forces, oil fields and civilian sites have also intensified.
The renewed mayhem is a sign that the militant group is taking advantage of governments absorbed in tackling the coronavirus pandemic and the ensuing slide into economic chaos. The virus is compounding longtime concerns among security and U.N. experts that the group would stage a comeback after its “caliphate,” which once encompassed a third of Iraq and Syria, was brought down last year.