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Iraqi Forces Readying for Potential Terrorist Activity During National Elections

Country's first national elections since coalition troops drove ISIS out of Mosul

Iraqi security forces members
Iraqi security forces members / Getty Images
• January 17, 2018 5:00 am

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American advisers have begun coordinating with the Iraqi Security Forces and local police teams to prepare for the possibility of a terrorist attack during national parliamentary elections in May, a senior U.S. commander said Tuesday.

Brig. Gen. James Glenn, the No. 2 U.S. chief in Iraq, said coalition forces are working to set security conditions that will be "firmly in place" ahead of the elections to prevent militant groups, like the Islamic State, from threatening Iraqi voters.

The May 12 elections mark the country's first national elections since coalition troops drove ISIS out of its de facto capital in Mosul. The elections will be key to determining the trajectory of Iraq post-ISIS.

Glenn's remarks came a day after two suicide bombers killed at least 38 people in central Baghdad in the first large-scale attack in the capital since Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over ISIS in December.

ISIS claimed responsibility for the twin explosions, which came as electoral coalitions were cemented this week ahead of the May parliamentary elections.

Though Baghdad and other population-dense areas in Iraq have suffered fewer large-scale attacks since coalition forces toppled ISIS's territorial holds over the summer, Iraqi and U.S. officials have warned the group would continue carrying out insurgent-style attacks.

Glenn said Iraqi Security Forces and coalition troops have shifted their focus to local policing and border enforcement as a result.

"There are remnants of ISIS who have been isolated and face some pretty dire choices and they are to trying to come together with potentially other elements or to try to relocate somewhere else and what the government of Iraq and their very capable security forces are focused on is ensuring that doesn't happen," he said.

Published under: Iraq