Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Violence In Iraq, March 2016


Government offensives in Anbar and Ninewa along with some large bombings led to an increase in violence and casualties in Iraq in March 2016. In Anbar the Iraqi forces continued to make gains in clearing out the Ramadi area and launched several new operations in the province as well. In Ninewa an effort was made to clear the Makhmour area. Faced with these campaigns, IS has turned to car bombings against the Iraqi forces to try to stall their advances and terrorist attacks against civilian targets, especially in Baghdad.

Attacks had been going down in Iraq in 2016, but March reversed that trend. There were 598 incidents in January when the Islamic State launched a series of counter attacks and terrorist bombings in response to its loss of Ramadi. Then there were 549 in February, before going up to 665 in March, the highest amount since August’s 684. The question is whether March was a blip like January or is IS going to increase its operations during the summer like it historically has. Since incidents have been going down overall since 2015 it is likely that even if IS tries to pick up its operations in the coming months it may not be sustainable.

Casualties increased in March as well. There were 1,463 dead and 1,843 wounded. That was up from 1,281 killed and 1,566 injured in February. Those figures compared to the United Nations’ 1,119 dead and 1,561 wounded, and Iraq Body Count’s 1,073,which does not include soldiers, but does cover the police, Hashd, and Sahwa in its count.

So far this year there has been an average of 66.1 fatalities per day in January, 44.1 in February, and 47.1 in March.

The Iraqi forces were operating throughout Anbar. They continued to clear the Ramadi suburbs. They were also active in Thar Thar, Garma, Amiriya Fallujah, Hit, Saqlawiya, and Kubaisa. The Islamic State’s main response was counter attacking with car bombs and suicide bombers. Seven car bombs and 12 suicide bombers found their targets. The government also claimed to have destroyed 36 car bombs, 45 suicide car bombs, and killed 58 suicide bombers. Because of official exaggeration the real numbers are likely half that. In total, there were 98 incidents, 343 killed and 161 wounded in the province during the month. The Islamic State executed 111 people, and 150 ISF and Sahwa were killed and wounded attempting to disarm IEDs in Ramadi.

For most of March Babil was witnessing its usual low level of IEDs and shootings, but then there were two mass casualty bombings. First, a suicide truck bomb left 61 dead and 95 wounded in Hillah. Then towards the end of the month a suicide bomber detonated his device at a soccer match in Iskandiriya, which killed 41 and wounded 105. In March there were 33 incidents, 136 fatalities, and 306 injured. 75% of the deaths and 65% of the wounded were due to those two explosions.

As IS has lost territory it has increasingly turned to attacking the capital. At the end of 2014 there was a huge spike in incidents, and then they have fluctuated up and down from 2015-2016. Since October they have been going up from an average of 7.0 per day to 7.6 in November, 7.7 in December, 8.5 in January, 8.4 in February, and then 9.9 in March, the highest in three years. In that month there were 307 incidents leading to 363 killed and 995 wounded. Since 2014 incidents have gone up from an average of 6.2 per day, to 7.4 per day in 2015 to 8.9 so far in 2016. Southern Baghdad has been the main target of IS with 111 attacks in March, including a motorcycle bomb, 2 mortar attacks, 5 sticky bombs and 70 IEDs. As security has deteriorated, so has crime and vigilantism. Major robberies, kidnappings, and bodies being dumped are commonplace each week.

Violence In Baghdad, March 2016
Center: 17 – 1 Kidnapping foiled, 1 Stabbing/Robbery, 1 Suicide Bomber, 1 Sticky Bomb, 3 Robberies, 3 Shootings, 7 IEDs
East: 44 – 1 Attempted Robbery, 1 Robbery, 1 Decapitation, 1 Grenade, 2 Shootings/Robberies, 3 Kidnappings, 6 Sticky Bombs, 13 IEDs, 17 Shootings
Outer East: 8 – 1 Kidnapping, 1 Shooting, 3 Sticky Bombs, 3 IEDs
North: 34 – 1 Grenade, 1 Kidnapping, 1 Sticky Bomb Dismantled, 2 Robberies, 4 Sticky Bombs, 12 Shootings, 13 IEDs
Outer North: 30 – 1 Kidnapping/Shooting/Robbery, 2 Kidnappings, 4 Sticky Bombs, 5 Shootings, 17 IEDs
South: 66 – 1 Stabbing, 1 Strangling, 1 Robbery, 1 Grenade, 3 Kidnapping, 5 Sticky Bombs, 15 Shootings, 38 IEDs
Outer South: 45 – 1 Motorcycle Bomb, 1 Stabbing, 1 Kidnapping, 2 Mortars, 7 Shootings, 32 IEDs
West: 40 – 1 Suicide Bomber Arrested, 1 Kidnapping Foiled, 1 Mortar, 1 Car Bomb Destroyed, 1 Grenade, 1 Robbery/Shooting, 2 Kidnappings, 2 Robberies, 2 Robberies/Shootings, 3 Sticky Bombs, 6 Shootings, 17 IEDs
Outer West: 14 – 1 Mortar, 1 Shooting, 3 Sticky Bombs, 9 IEDs
Unknown: 1 – 1 Suicide Bomber Arrested


Basra has also been unstable. There are constant tribal clashes and rampant crime. Political violence between the ruling parties is also on going with an education director being killed and an attempt made on a judge.

Violence has been creeping up in Diyala as well. In November and December there were only 0.7 incidents per day. Then they went up to 1.3 in January, 1.1 in February, and 1.4 in March. For the month there were 46 attacks, 29 dead, and 18 wounded. The security forces were able to prevent three bombings when they disarmed a car bomb, and arrested two suicide bombers. IS was able to fire mortars on several towns and cities.

IS also picked up its operations in Kirkuk, although they dipped a bit. Like Diyala, there was an average of 0.7 attacks per day in December and January, but then jumped to 1.7 in February, and 1.4 in March. In those last two months IS started regular attacks upon the Peshmerga lines as well as carried out a wave of mass executions in Hawija, the last district in the province still under its control. In March, IS began firing rockets with chemical agents at Taza. At the end of the month however, attacks dramatically tailed off. There were 45 incidents total that killed 50 and wounded 106.

There has been a wave of terrorist attacks in Turkey in recent months. In response, Ankara has begun regular air raids upon northern Kurdistan bombing areas under the control of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK). Turkey claimed it killed 112 PKK fighters in two air strikes.

Ninewa became a new focus of both Baghdad and IS. The insurgents were carrying out regular attacks upon the Peshmerga lines, and fired chemical rockets upon civilian towns. It also executed 272 people, mostly in Mosul. At the end of the month the ISF and tribal fighters began an offensive in Makhmour to clear the area of IS cells that were firing upon the bases there, including a Marine one that was just built in March. As that operation got under way, IS counter attacked with its usual mix of infantry assaults, suicide bombers, and car bombs. 7 car bombs and 10 suicide bombers were able to hit the security forces. They in turn claimed they destroyed 9 car bombs and killed 36 suicide bombers. As usual those figures are inflated. These clashes led to 84 incidents, 387 killed, and 199 wounded. The dead included 1 U.S. Marine, 1 Hashd, 3 Turkish Soldiers, 40 Peshmerga, and 41 ISF.

Salahaddin, which was a major battlefield for months has been quieting down. There were an average of 2.0 attacks per day in December, going up to 2.5 in January as IS carried out attacks in the province in response to the loss of Ramadi, and then went down to 1.9 in February and 1.5 in March. Almost all of the fighting in the governorate was concentrated in the northeast in places like the Ajeel and Alas oil fields in the Hamrin Mountains, the Makhoul Mountains, and the Baiji district. Baiji was freed back in October, but in recent weeks there were constant reports of clashes going on there. At the end of 2015 the Hashd that have dominated security operations in the province were talking about clearing out the last IS pockets, but then they were called away by Iran for the Tehran-Moscow Aleppo offensive. Since then violence has leveled off, the frontline has stalemated, and IS has been able to re-infiltrate into places like Baiji.

The number of car bombs has tapered off in Iraq in recent months. In December there were 26 successful bombings, and then 36 in January because of the fight for Ramadi. After that though there were only 9 in February and 18 in March. Almost all of those were targeting the government’s forces with a few terrorist bombings. There was 1 terrorist car bombing in Babil, 3 in Salahaddin against the ISF and Hashd, and 7 each in Anbar and Ninewa against the ISF and Peshmerga.

Violence In Iraq 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
Mar 1-7
183
321
478
Mar 8-14
168
408
415
Mar 15-21
130
349
409
Mar 22-28
135
213
420
Mar 29-31
49
172
121
MAR
665
1,463
1,843


Security By Province March, 2016
Province
Incidents
Anbar
98 Incidents
343 Killed: 8 Hashd, 85 Sahwa, 106 ISF, 144 Civilians
161 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 13 Hashd, 55 Sahwa, 92 ISF
45 Shootings
9 IEDs
12 Suicide Bombers
6 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Car Bomb
5 Mortar
58 Suicide Bombers Killed
45 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
36 Car Bombs Destroyed
Babil
33 Incidents
136 Killed: 13 ISF, 123 Civilians
306 Wounded: 4 Hashd, 8 ISF, 294 Civilians
7 Shootings
21 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Suicide Bombers
1 Suicide Truck Bomb
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
Baghdad
307 Incidents
363 Killed: 9 Hashd, 13 Sahwa, 26 ISF, 315 Civilians
995 Wounded: 12 Sahwa, 26 Hashd, 52 ISF, 905 Civilians
77 Shootings
155 IEDs
31 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Motorcycle Bomb
4 Grenades
4 Mortars
2 Suicide Bombers Arrested
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
Diyala
46 Incidents
29 Killed: 6 ISF, 6 Hashd, 6 Peshmerga, 11 Civilians
18 Wounded: 1 Hashd, 3 Peshmerga, 3 ISF, 11 Civilians
8 Shootings
13 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
11 Mortars
2 Suicide Bombers Arrested
1 Car Bomb Dismantled
Kirkuk
45 Incidents
50 Killed: 2 Hashd, 2 Asayesh, 3 Peshmerga, 9 ISF, 34 Civilians
106 Wounded: 2 Asayesh, 6 Hashd, 20 Peshmerga 78 Civilians
20 Shootings
4 IEDs
8 Rockets
1 Suicide Bomber Arrested
17 Suicide Bombers Killed
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
KRG
2 Incidents
112 Killed: 112 PKK
2 Turkish Air Strikes
Ninewa
84 Incidents
387 Killed: 1 Marine, 1 Hashd, 3 Turkish Soldiers, 16 Najafi Hashd, 40 Peshmerga, 41 ISF, 285 Civilians
199 Wounded: 1 Turkish Soldier, 4 Hashd, 8 Marines, 8 Najafi Hashd, 22 Peshmerga & PKK, 25 Civilians, 52 Peshmerga, 79 ISF
33 Shootings
297 IEDs
10 Suicide Bombers
7 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Chemical Rockets
5 Rockets
1 Artillery
6 Mortars
36 Suicide Bombers Killed
6 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed
Salahaddin
48 Incidents
41 Killed: 5 Hashd, 8 ISF, 28 Civilians
57 Wounded: 6 Civilians, 20 ISF, 31 Hashd
26 Shootings
4 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
2 Mortars
11 Suicide Bombers Killed
14 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
25 Car Bombs Destroyed

Car Bombs In Iraq March, 2016
Date
Car Bombs
Dead
Wounded
Mar 1
Leine, Tikrit & West of Samarra, Salahaddin
Samarra Island & Shirqat, Salahaddin – 8 destroyed
4
29
Mar 2
Baghdadi & Lake Qadisiyah, Anbar – 5 destroyed
Bashir, Kirkuk – 1 destroyed
Samarra & Samarra Island, Salahaddin – 18 destroyed


Mar 3
Samarra Island, Salahaddin – 3 destroyed


Mar 4
Albu Abdul, Anbar – 4 destroyed
Mansour, Baghdad – 1 destroyed


Mar 5



Mar 6
Hillah, Babil
Albu Abad, Anbar – 1 destroyed
61
95
Mar 7
East of Ramadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed


Totals
4 – 42 Destroyed
65
124
Mar 8



Mar 9
Kirkuk-Sulaymaniya Road, Kirkuk – 1 destroyed
2
2
Mar 10
Khalis, Diyala – 1 destroyed


Mar 11
Khashim, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Baiji, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed


Mar 12
Safiriya, Anbar – 3 destroyed


Mar 13
Makhoul & ?, Salahaddin – 2 destroyed


Mar 14
Albu Aasi, Albu Taiban & Safiriya, Anbar
Albu Aasi, Aqba, Keserat & Masri, Anbar – 4 destroyed
25
20
Totals
3 – 13 Destroyed
27
22
Mar 15



Mar 16
Shuhada, Anbar – 1 destroyed


Mar 17
Fallujah, Anbar – 5 destroyed


Mar 18



Mar 19
Albu Sayah & Husseiniya, Anbar – 3 destroyed


Mar 20
Hamadiya x2, Anbar
Albu Obeid, Haqlaniya, Kubaisa, south of Hit, Anbar – 8 destroyed
Makhoul, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed


Mar 21
Albu Obeid, Anbar
Albu Obeid & Baghdadi, Anbar – 11 destroyed
Bashir & Taza, Kirkuk – 2 destroyed
Ain Tallawi, Ninewa – 2 destroyed
Baiji & Siniya, Salahaddin – 4 destroyed
8
13
Totals
3 – 37 Destroyed
8
13
Mar 22
Albu Abad, Kubaisa, Thar Thar, Anbar – 8 destroyed
Siniya, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed


Mar 23
Zkhaikha, Anbar
Albu Daaj, Zkhaikha, Anbar – 7 destroyed
Makhoul, Salahaddin – 1 destroyed
6
13
Mar 24
Baghdadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed
Kudilah, Ninewa – 2 destroyed


Mar 25
Karmardi, Ninewa
Kubaisa, Saqlawiya, Anbar – 6 destroyed


Mar 26
Karmardi, Ninewa
Thar Thar, Anbar – 3 destroyed
Khattab, Ninewa – 4 destroyed
7

Mar 27



Mar 28
Thar Thar, Anbar – 3 destroyed


Totals
3 – 36 Destroyed
15
13
Mar 29
Thar Thar, Anbar – 3 destroyed


Mar 30
Nasir, Ninewa – 1 destroyed


Mar 31
Makhmour – 5
14
4
MAR
18 – 132 Destroyed
129
176

Car Bombs In Iraq Nov 2015-Mar 2016
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
MAR
18 – 132 Destroyed
129
176

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