The Islamic State has attacked Iraq’s Al Walid border crossing with Syria on Dec. 23, according to Al Jazeera Arabic.
The attack on the outpost south of Qaim, Al Jazeera reported, “killed five members of the Iraqi Border Forces,” including a lieutenant colonel. In addition, Voice of Iraq reported that Iraqi forces managed to “repel the attack by Daesh [the Arabic acronym for the Islamic State],” claiming that “dozens of fighters” of the Islamic State were killed; however, this claim cannot be independently verified.
The Islamic State released photographs yesterday claiming to show its fighters attacking at least one outpost near the border crossing. The pictures, which bear the title of Wilayat Anbar (State of Anbar), claim to be dated on Dec. 23.
In the photo set, the Islamic State showcases its fighters attacking the outpost, as well as displays items seized during the raid. At least three pickup trucks belonging to the Iraqi police were acquired, along with a wide array of weaponry from the outpost. The photo set ends with the Islamic State showing one of its dead fighters, a local emir with the nom de guerre of Abu Anas al Ansari.
The alleged date of the photos cannot be independently verified. While the Islamic State claims the photos are from the fighting on Dec. 23, it also attacked the Al Walid crossing on Dec. 2. A local tribal leader told Reuters that in the previous attack, weapons and vehicles were seized and then driven back to nearby Rutbah, where jihadists fired “guns in celebration as they arrived.” Rutbah is under the control of the Islamic State and that exact scene was showcased in the newly released photo set. Furthermore, media reporting on the Dec. 23 attack makes no mention of weapons or vehicles being seized by the jihadist group.
The Al Walid border crossing was captured by the Islamic State along with the nearby Tarbil border crossing with Jordan on June 22. The two crossings were then subsequently retaken by the Iraqi military just days later. The two crossings have remained contested, as the Islamic State seeks to eject Iraqi forces and control the border outposts. On Nov. 25, the Islamic State launched a suicide attack on the Trebil crossing, killing or wounding at least six Iraqi Army personnel.
Photos released by the Islamic State claiming to show the Dec. 23 attack on Al Walid: