Monday, March 7, 2016

Violence In Iraq, February 2016


Violence in Iraq has been going down since 2015. There was a short spike in January 2016 as the Islamic State launched counter attacks across the country after it lost Ramadi. That is now over, and the steady decline in both security incidents and casualties has returned.

There were 549 security incidents reported in the press in February. That was the second lowest figure in the last 14 months. In January 2015 there was an average of 29.3 attacks per day. That has steadily gone down to 18.9 in February 2016. The downward trend in incidents shows that the Islamic State has been on the defensive for over a year now in Iraq.

The media had 1,281 people killed and 1,566 wounded during the month. 7 Sahwa, 21 Peshmerga, 53 Hashd al-Shaabi, 178 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 1,022 civilians died, and another 3 members of the British Special Air Service (SAS), 9 Sahwa, 15 Peshmerga, 67 Hashd, 151 ISF, 1,209 civilians, and 112 Peshmerga and civilians were injured. That last figure came from two IS rocket attacks in Ninewa, which did not break down how many Kurdish fighters and civilians were wounded, just the total number. The real number of casualties is much higher then what gets reported.

Anbar remained the one exception to the declining violence in Iraq. Attacks have been going up there since December from 2.4 per day to 3.0 in January to 3.1 in February. That was the result of the loss of Ramadi, and the government’s push into the eastern and northern suburbs of the city. The Islamic State counter attacked in response, which continues to the present, and accounts for the increase in incidents there.

240 people died and 150 were wounded in Anbar in February. That included 1 executed in Hit, 3 executed in Juwiba, 16 in Fallujah, and 65 bodies found in two mass graves in Albu Diab and Sufiya. 6 suicide car bombs also left 13 Hashd, 15 ISF, and 56 soldiers dead and 6 Hashd, 7 ISF, and 27 soldiers wounded. The government claimed it destroyed 4 motorcycle bombs, 41 suicide car bombs, 66 car bombs, and killed 69 suicide bombers, but those are all likely inflated. The government exaggerates the losses it inflicts upon the insurgents for propaganda purposes.

Attacks in Babil have been going up and down with February being one of the latter. There were 24 incidents during the month, killing 25 and wounding 85. One change from previous months was that IS was focusing upon high casualty terrorist attacks upon markets. Two were bombed the second week of the month, two more the third week, and five the last week.

Since the end of 2015 IS has been focusing more and more on Baghdad. There were 7.0 incidents per day in October, climbing to 8.5 in January and 8.4 in February. 381 died and 985 were wounded. Unlike before, almost all of these casualties came from IEDs, sticky bombs, and suicide bombers as there was only one successful car bombing. What’s new is a return of high profile assaults by the insurgents. That included two suicide bombers attacking a mosque in north Baghdad killing 15 and wounding 50, two suicide bombers detonating at a market in the east leaving 73 fatalities and 112 injured, and a coordinated attack upon an army base in Aub Ghraib at the end of the month that included five car bombs, four of which were destroyed that left another 12 dead and 35 wounded. Now that IS no longer has the capability to seize territory in Iraq it is focusing upon terrorist and insurgent attacks to undermine the government’s credibility and stoke sectarian tensions.

In February, the south had the most incidents with 86, followed by 63 in the east, 44 in the north, 32 in the west, and 21 in the center. Along with IS there was also criminal, vigilante and Hashd activity leading to 10 kidnappings, 19 robberies, and 58 bodies being dumped.

Security Incidents In Baghdad, Feb 2016
Center: 21 – 1 Grenade, 1 Robbery, 1 Kidnapping, 1 Kidnapping/Shooting, 2 Sticky Bombs,
            3 Shootings/Robberies, 5 Shootings, 7 IEDs
East: 52 – 1 Power Lines Cut, 1 Shooting/Robbery, 1 Grenade, 1 Kidnapping, 2 Stabbings, 2 Suicide
Bombers, 5 Sticky Bombs, 6 Robberies, 14 IEDs, 19 Shootings,
Outer East: 11 – 1 Robbery, 1 Shooting, 2 Kidnappings, 2 Sticky Bombs, 5 IEDs
North: 25 – 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Stabbings, 2 Robberies, 2 Suicide Bombers, 9 Shootings, 10 IEDs
Outer North: 19 – 1 Stabbing, 1 IED Dismantled, 2 Grenades, 7 Shootings, 8 IEDs
South: 48 – 1 Stabbing/Robbery, 1 Kidnapping, 1 Mortar, 1 Sticky Bomb, 8 Shootings, 36 IEDs
Outer South: 38 – 1 Grenade, 1 Kidnapping, 1 Kidnapping/Shooting, 1 Robbery, 3 Sticky Bombs,
7 Shootings, 24 IEDs
West: 21 – 3 Robberies, 1 Kidnapping, 1 Kidnapping/Shooting, 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Shootings, 13 IEDs
Outer West: 11 – 1 Mortar, 1 Suicide Car Bomb, 1 Sticky Bomb, 3 Shootings, 4 Suicide Car Bombs
Destroyed, 6 IEDs

IS has been attempting to stoke sectarian tensions in Diyala as well. In the last two months the group launched two mass casualty suicide bombings in Mutqadiya. At the end of February one hit a funeral that killed 38 and wounded 58. The month before, it bombed a café that led to several days of retaliatory attacks by the Hashd against the city’s Sunni population.

Kirkuk witnessed the most violence since 2014. For most of last year there was an average of one attack per day or less. In February there was 1.7. The major cause of the increase was IS cracking down upon the population in Hawija in the southern section of the governorate. There were repeated claims that people were trying to escape the area. The insurgents responded with weekly executions totaling 89 people.

There was one news report that Turkish airplanes killed three civilians and wounded two more in an air strike upon the northern section of Kurdistan. The Turks were targeting areas under the control of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK).

In Ninewa IS carried out a number of operations against the Peshmerga, while executing several hundred people. There were 21 attacks upon the Kurds in the province, including three alleged chlorine rocket attacks. Those left 18 Peshmerga dead and 12 wounded, along with 112 Peshmergaand civilians wounded by the missile strikes. IS also executed 379 people in the Mosul area.

Violence has been steadily declining in Salahaddin. There was an average of 1.9 incidents per day in February, the lowest figure in over two years. Part of that was due to the fact that the government has not launched any major offensives there since the retaking of Baiji. That was because many pro-Iranian Hashd forces were pulled out of Iraq for Syria. There was still fighting outside of Samarra in the center, in the Baiji sector, the Alas and Ajeel oil fields and Makhoul Mountains in the northeast. IS also carried out terrorist and harassing attacks in the south. Those together led to 52 dead and 104 wounded.

Finally, there was a major dip in car bombings. In February there were only 9 successful vehicle borne improvised explosive devices (VBIEDs). In January there were 36 and 26 in December. The security forces claimed they destroyed 135 VBIEDs in February, which was similar to previous months, but those numbers are exaggerations for propaganda purposes.

Violence In Iraq By Week 2015-16
Date
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
JAN
911
2,656
3,032 + 150
FEB
730
2,345
2,366
MAR
820
2,665
2,529
APR
751
2,753
2,621
MAY
674
2,565 + 1,499
1,952 + 646
JUN
708
2,153 + 405
2,174
JUL
688
2,716
3,198 + 4,024
AUG
684
2,440 + 760
1,777
SEP
649
1,731
1,668 + 3,003
OCT
589
1,144
1,555
NOV
530
1,174
1,455 + 124 + 1,322
DEC
553
1,155
1,252 + 5,920
Jan 1-7
150
808
421
Jan 8-14
140
436
417
Jan 15-21
135
275
227
Jan 22-28
132
392
322
Jan 29-31
41
81
334
JAN
598
2,052
1,721
Feb 1-7
146
575
313
Feb 8-14
119
146
323
Feb 15-21
130
225
239
Feb 22-29
153
371
690
FEB
549
1,281
1,566

Security By Province Feb, 2016
Province
Jan
Anbar
91 Incidents
240 Killed: 5 Sahwa, 14 Hashd, 100 Civilians, 121 ISF
150 Wounded: 9 Hashd, 66 ISF, 75 Civilians
46 Shootings
6 IEDs
6 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Rocket
2 Artillery
5 Mortars
4 Motorcycle Bombs Destroyed
69 Suicide Bombers Killed
41 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
66 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
24 Incidents
25 Killed: 2 ISF, 23 Civilians
85 Wounded: 3 Hashd, 13 ISF, 69 Civilians
7 Shootings
17 IEDs
Baghdad
244 Incidents
381 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 18 Hashd, 22 ISF, 340 Civilians
985 Wounded: 5 Sahwa, 36 ISF, 46 Hashd, 898 Civilians
73 Shootings
118 IEDs
16 Sticky Bombs
4 Suicide Bombers
5 Grenades
2 Mortars
1 Suicide Car Bomb
4 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
Diyala
32 Incidents
56 Killed: 2 Hashd, 3 ISF, 3 Peshmerga, 48 Civilians
64 Wounded: 1 ISF, 2 Sahwa, 3 Peshmerga, 58 Civilians
9 Shootings
13 IEDs
3 Sticky Bombs
1 Mortar
1 Suiicde Bomber
1 Bicycle Bomb Disarmed
Irbil
1 Incident
1 Sticky Bomb
Karbala
1 Incident
1 Shooting
Kirkuk
50 Incidents
123 Killed: 2 Hashd, 5 ISF, 116 Civilians
43 Wounded: 4 ISF, 4 Hashd, 35 Civilians
26 Shootings
62 IEDs
1 Car Bomb
5 Rockets
KRG
1 Incident
3 Killed: 3 Civilians
2 Wounded: 2 Civilians
1 Turkish Air Strike
Ninewa
48 Incidents
401 Killed: 4 Hashd, 14 ISF, 18 Peshmerga, 365 Civilians
133 Wounded: 3 SAS, 3 Hashd, 12 Peshmerga, 3 Civilians, 112 Peshmerga & Civilians
19 Shootings
43 IEDs
2 Mortars
4 Rockets
4 Suicide Bombers Killed
3 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
9 Car Bombs Destroyed
Salahaddin
52 Incidents
52 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 11 ISF, 13 Hashd, 27 Civilians
104 Wounded: 2 Sahwa, 2 Hashd, 31 ISF, 69 Civilians
35 Shootings
12 IEDs
1 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Mortar
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
5 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
7 Car Bombs Destroyed

Date
Successful – Destroyed Car Bombs
Dead
Wounded
NOV
9 – 155 Destroyed
55
144
DEC
26 – 117 Destroyed
128
76
JAN
36 – 167 Destroyed
253
317
FEB
9 – 135 Destroyed
96
69


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