Thursday, March 13, 2014

Musings On Iraq Security Report March 1-7, 2014

The first week of March 2014 was the bloodiest of 2014. There were 412 reported deaths and 702 wounded. Most of those occurred in Baghdad and Salahaddin. Fighting also picked up in Anbar, while there was a slew of car bombings in Babil. At the same time there was a large drop in violence in Ninewa and scattered attacks in the south. The large number of bombings for the week was the main cause of the increase in casualties. This was just the latest sign that security is getting worse in Iraq.

From March 1-7 there were 252 security incidents. That led to 412 deaths and 702 wounded. 277 of the fatalities were civilians compared to 115 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and 20 members of the Sahwa. 534 civilians were wounded along with 146 of the ISF and 22 of the Sahwa. Bombings, 143 total, were the main form of attack. That included 21 car bombs and 11 suicide bombers. The former are the main cause of mass casualty attacks in Iraq and is the main reason why casualties were so high. The week surpassed the previous high for 2014, which was the second week of January that saw 372 dead and 683 wounded. 

Reported Violence In Iraq By Week 2014


Reported Violence In Iraq By Province Mar. 1-7, 2014

Dhi Qar

For a change, Salahaddin not Baghdad was the deadliest province at the start of March. There were 45 incidents there leading to 125 killed and 134 wounded. Insurgents hit a variety of targets with Tikrit seeing 9 attacks, Shirqat 8, Samarra 6, Tuz Kharmato 6, Baiji and Sulaiman Bek four each, Balad 2, Yathrib 2, along with three other smaller towns. March 4 was the worst day when likely Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) fighters stormed the city council building in Samarra using five suicide bombers. The militants were able to hold the building for several hours before it was cleared by the security forces. The results were 73 dead and 50 wounded. This was just the latest well planned assault by ISIS on government facilities, which has become a trademark of the organization. For the rest of the week attacks usually consisted of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) 30 total, shootings, 21, and sticky bombs, 4. Salahaddin has been the main province where militants have picked up their operations since fighting started in Anbar at the very end of December.

Baghdad was next with 70 attacks resulting in 118 killed and 288 wounded. The week saw the start of the latest car bomb wave by ISIS. The last wave ended on February 18 when there were 4 car bombs in the capital province. March 5 there were four car bombs in Shaab, Shula, Sadr City, and Karrada. The results were 12 dead and 49 wounded. The next day bombs went off in Meshahda, Amil, Nahda, Karrada, and Ghaziliya with 21 killed and 67 injured. Finally there was a single car bomb on March 7 in Ghaziliya again aimed at a politician. For the week Tarmiya, which is to the north of the capital was the top target with 8 attacks, followed by 7 in western Baghdad’s Ghaziliya with 7, and Abu Ghraib and Sadr City with four each. There were a total of 28 reported IEDs, 20 shootings, 10 car bombs, 9 sticky bombs, a suicide bomber, a kidnapping, a stabbing, and one mortar attack.

Anbar saw a jump in violence in the beginning of March. The number of attacks remained relatively the same from 55 in the last week of February to 57 in the first week of March. There were simply more people killed in the fighting between insurgents and the ISF, and continued deaths from government shelling. In total there were 83 deaths and 108 wounded compared to 45 killed and 138 wounded the previous week. The press reported casualties from ISF artillery and mortar fire and air attacks on March 1 in Saqlawiya, March 2 in Fallujah and Amiriya Fallujah, March 3 in Fallujah, March 4 in Habaniya and outside Fallujah, March 5 in Fallujah and the road from Ramadi to Habaniya, and March 6 and 7 in Fallujah. In total 31 were killed and 78 wounded. All but one day there was also fighting with insurgents. March 1 for example there was gunfire with militants in east Ramadi, Sajar, Albu Jassim, Albu Diab, and Albu Shaban. Despite government statements that Ramadi was relatively safe and only Fallujah was a problem, the former accounted for the most incidents at 18 for the week, followed by 8 in Fallujah. The conflict continued in the surrounding areas as well.

Ninewa went the other way for the week. There were 35 reported incidents compared to 52 the week before. There were just 31 killed and 52 wounded down from 78 deaths and 75 injured in the last week of February. There was even one day, March 5 when there were no fatalities and only four wounded. For years now Ninewa, and specifically Mosul and the surrounding area has seen low level targeted violence as ISIS has established their control their and used it as their main financial base in Iraq.

Diyala and Tamim remain largely out of the fight. In Diyala there were 15 attacks, 19 killed and 32 wounded, while in Tamim there were 18 incidents, 11 deaths and 41 injured. Those were largely in line with figures for the rest of the year.

Babil saw one very violent day. On March 6 four car bombs were detonated in the governorate targeting Hillah and Iskandariya with 17 dead and 38 wounded. Babil has seen some intense fighting in recent weeks. The northern section of the province has become an ISIS base. In February there were set battles as the ISF launched an unsuccessful operation to clear parts of the province. In March the Islamic State struck back hitting the major urban centers. The growing instability in the province led Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to dismiss the provincial police chief in the beginning of March.

Southern Iraq remained rather quiet. There was one shooting in Basra killing a former mayor and a car bomb in Wasit that only wounded one on March 6, and then a body was found dumped in Dhi Qar’s Nasiriyah on March 7. Since ISIS stopped its monthly car bombings in December 2013 the region has stayed relatively safe. Every now and then there is an isolated act of violence, but vast majority of the population has been able to live their lives. That was shown in the start of March when Karbala, Maysan, Muthanna, Najaf, and Qadisiyah had no reported attacks.


AIN, "3 Terrorists of ISIS killed, wounded eastern Ramadi," 3/1/14
- "6 ISIS elements killed near Fallujah," 3/1/14
- "Civilians' body found in Nasiriyah city," 3/7/14
- "Former mayor killed in Basra," 3/6/14
- "Urgent…Human casualties due to Nahdha explosion hit 15 deaths, injuries," 3/6/14

Alsumaria, "14 killed, 59 injured in bombings Renaissance and the Karrada neighborhood and Baghdad's Amil," 3/6/14
- "The killing of a family of six people pounding southern Fallujah," 3/2/14

Associated Press, "Bombings, clashes in Iraq kill at least 42," 3/6/14

Buratha News, "14 martyrs and 59 injured in bombings in Nahda and the Karrada neighborhoods in Baghdad's Amil," 3/6/14
- "The end of the events of Samarra, the martyrdom and wounding 125 people, mostly displaced people from Anbar," 3/4/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding at least 55 people with four car bombs in Baghdad," 3/5/14

Al Forat, "Security forces regain control over Salah al-Din PC entirely; 37 killed&injured," 3/4/14

Independent Press Agency, “Exempting the police chief of Babel on the background of the bombings,” 3/10/14

Iraq Times, "martyrs and wounded by a car bomb in western Baghdad's Ghazaliya," 3/7/14

Al Jazeera, "Gunmen seize city council in Iraq's Samarra," 3/4/14
- "Iraqi capital hit by series of blasts," 3/5/14

Al Mada, "Killed and wounded 13 civilians by random bombardment of the army on Fallujah," 3/5/14
- "Killing and injuring ten people in a second bombing in Sadr City in eastern Baghdad," 3/5/14
- "Person injured by a roadside bomb near a primary school north of Kut," 3/6/14

NINA, "/4/ Civilians from the Same family Killed and injured as a result of the Bombing of Areas in Fallujah," 3/4/14
- "/7/ Element of ISIS Killed Northeast of Ramadi," 3/2/14
- "/8/ Civilians Wounded by Bombing Areas in Fallujah," 3/2/14
- "/10/ Civilians, Including children Injured by Renewed Bombardment on Fallujah," 3/3/14
- "10 members of one family killed and wounded by army air craft's bombing east of Ramadi," 3/4/14
- "16 Civilians Got Martyrdom and Wounded by Artillery Bombing," 3/6/14
- "BREAKING NEWS. 33 civilians killed in a series of car bomb blasts in Baghdad," 3/5/14
- "A car bomb explosion near the house of a coalition's leader west of Baghdad," 3/7/14
- "A Child Killed, /9/ People Injured by Renewed Shelling of Areas North and East of Fallujah," 3/1/14
- "A civilian killed, three others wounded in Fallujah," 3/2/14
- "Four car bomb go off in Hilla," 3/6/14
- "A man, a woman killed, three injured in Ramadi," 3/5/14

Al Rafidayn, "26 killed in the explosion of bombs and car bombs in Iraq, terrorism," 3/6/14

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Separate Bombings in Iraq Kill at Least 20," Associated Press, 3/5/14

Shafiq, Mohammed, "Injury of a number of elements of the SWAT in booby-trapped house south of Ramadi," Alsumaria, 3/1/14

Xinhua, "Iraqi forces free hostages held in Iraq's Samarra," 3/4/14


Nicasso said...

Hi Joel,

I have been reading your blog for a few months now and it is good stuff, you clearly have a passion for all things Iraq! Just a quick note from one who also monitors the security scene in Iraq. You state that:'On March 6 four car bombs were detonated in the governorate targeting Hillah, Iskandariya, and Alexandria with 17 dead and 42 wounded'. Iskandariya and Alexandria are one and the same. I have come across this and similar confusions in some of your listed media sources. For bomb kills 10 in Baghdad al Jadeeda...and then the journalist not realising that this IS New Baghdad and recording another 10 deaths during a car bomb attack in New Baghdad. This might lead you to inadvertently inflate the number of incidents / deaths.


Joel Wing said...


Thanks for pointing that out. The reports on the Babil bombings were very confusing as to how many bombs were used and the locations.

As always the problem with recording attacks is the locations. The press uses districts, cities, neighborhoods and I don't have the time to look up every one on a map to see if there's overlap.

Nicasso said...

Yep, I know what you mean. I have driven myself almost insane attempting to find grid references for obscure villages using colloquial naming conventions and/or vague Iraqi media directions!

Joel Wing said...

I hate Mosul the most. So many similar sounding attacks usually with very little on where it is.

Joel Wing said...

I fixed the Babel reporting and the overall figures.

Joel Wing said...


I fixed all the Iskandiriya-Alexandria doubles in my notes. Fortunately I did note that Baghdad al-Jadeed and New Baghdad were the same.

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