Iraq’s Defense Ministry on Saturday denied media reports about the withdrawal of federal police forces from the oil-rich Kirkuk province.
Local media said federal police forces had pulled out from the province amid reports about an imminent attack by the Daesh terrorist group.
In a statement, the ministry called the reports “fabricated”.
“Security forces are continuing to do their duties,” the ministry said. “There is no pull-out [from the province] as the presence of the security forces has been welcomed by residents,” it added.
The federal police command described the reports as “part of a negative media campaign aimed to affect the public opinion in Kirkuk and weaken public confidence in state institutions and armed forces”.
Kirkuk governor Rakan Jabour also dismissed the reports, saying the security situation was stable in the province.
Last December, officials in Baghdad declared that Daesh’s military presence in Iraq had been all but dismantled. Nevertheless, it appears that the group still maintains “sleeper cells” in several parts of the country, including Kirkuk.