In this Oct. 17, 2017 file photo, federal security forces and local police man a checkpoint at the northern entrance to Kirkuk, Iraq. (AP Photo/Khalid Mohammed, File)
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On a desolate highway in northern Iraq last week, nine federal police officers packed into a large SUV were stopped at a checkpoint they had never seen before.Daesh (ISIS) claimed the killings.Iraq declared victory over Daesh in December after driving the militants from the last territory under their control, but in recent months the group has resumed insurgent-style attacks in northern Iraq.Iraqi security officials say 150 to 200 members of the security forces have been killed in Daesh attacks across the country in the past few months. Over the course of a grueling three-year campaign, Iraqi forces backed by a U.S.-led coalition drove Daesh from the vast swaths of territory it seized in the summer of 2014 and Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared a final victory in December.A Baghdad-based security official said Daesh militants are able to move with greater freedom through rural areas and the open deserts in northern Iraq since the U.S.-led coalition began reducing its military footprint earlier this year. With fewer coalition troops on the ground, Iraqi forces are not getting the large amounts of intelligence they did at the height of the fight against Daesh and coalition surveillance has also been scaled back, the official said.
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