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ISIS Has Not Vanished. It Is Fighting a Guerrilla War Against the Iraqi State.

The knock came one night late last year, a persistent bang on the metal door. The family inside shuddered as the sound echoed through the sparsely furnished farmhouse. Officially, their village had been liberated from the so-called Islamic State in October 2017, along with the nearby town of Hawija. But the military campaign had been hasty. The militants had sought refuge in the nearby mountains, leaving Iraqi forces to sweep through the area unchallenged. Now it was November, a month after ISIS had ostensibly been vanquished, and the militants were back. The elite Iraqi units that had fought ISIS on the battlefield were gone, and the forces who had replaced them were poorly trained and thinly spread across these vast, hilly areas, honeycombed with riverbeds and irrigation channels that offered the insurgents plenty of hideouts. On that fall night near Hawija, Imad, a father of five who asked that his real name not be used because he fears reprisals from both ISIS and the Iraqi security forces, told his brother to get a gun, while he himself slowly stepped into the dark. These days, almost no one dared venture outside after dusk. Everyone knew that the night belonged to ISIS.…

Source: The Intercept | ISIS Has Not Vanished. It Is Fighting a Guerrilla War Against the Iraqi State.

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