Saturday, March 10, 2018

Security In Iraq, Mar 1-7

There was an increase in attacks across central Iraq during the first week of March. While that did not translate to any real change in casualties, it did point to the Islamic State becoming bolder since it converted to an insurgency at the end of last year.

There were 78 incidents reported during the start of March, the most since 79 from November 15-21, 2017. Those were spread across Babil (1), Dohuk (1), Kurdistan (1), Irbil (2), Salahaddin (6), Anbar (7), Diyala (12), Kirkuk (12), Ninewa (12), and Baghdad (24). During the first week of March, Baghdad was at its regular high number of attacks, while they went up in Anbar, Diyala and Ninewa compared to the week before. Baghdad had already seen an uptick in violence since the start of the year. In Diyala and Salahaddin incidents continued to fluctuate month to month, while they have been steady in Ninewa, and increasing in Kirkuk since the central government took over responsibility in October 2017.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province Mar 1-7, 2018
Babil 1
Dohuk 1
Kurdistan 1
Irbil 2
Salahaddin 6
Anbar 7
Diyala 12
Kirkuk 12
Ninewa 12
Baghdad 24

Casualties In Iraq By Province Mar 1-7, 2018
Dohuk 1 (1 Killed)
Irbil 4 (2 Killed, 2 Wounded)
KRG 4 (4 Killed)
Babil 5 (1 Killed, 4 Wounded)
Anbar 12 (1 Killed, 11 Wounded)
Salahaddin 12 (4 Killed, 8 Wounded)
Diyala 14 (3 Killed, 11 Wounded)
Kirkuk 18 (11 Killed, 7 Wounded)
Baghdad 45 (12 Killed, 33 Wounded)
Ninewa 89 (81 Killed, 8 Wounded)

There were 120 deaths and 84 wounded recorded from March 1-7. 67 of the dead were found in three mass graves in Ninewa. 1 Peshmerga, 1 member of the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan (KDPI), 3 Hashd al-Shaabi, 4 members of the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), 25 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 86 civilians were killed, and 2 KDPI, 8 Peshmerga, 10 Hashd, 28 ISF, and 35 civilians were injured. There was 1 casualty in Dohuk, 4 in Irbil, 4 in the KRG, 5 in Babil, 12 in Anbar, 12 in Salahaddin, 14 in Diyala, 18 in Kirkuk, 45 in Baghdad, and 89 in Ninewa.

Anbar witnessed a slight increase in incidents with 7 during the week compared to 3 for each of the last four weeks. The most significant were a suicide car bomb that was destroyed at a checkpoint in the west, and a shootout with insurgents in Amiriya Fallujah in the east. According to an Iraqi army colonel there are still IS elements along the Syria border, although they are not really carrying out any operations. Violence in the province has been going down since September 2017, so it’s too early to tell whether this week was meaningful or not.

For the last several months it seemed like IS was trying to re-establish itself in Babil with attacks nearly every other day. That trend ended recently. The past week was no different with just one incident. It was different from previous ones however as a group of militants was caught attempting to infiltrate into the Jurf al-Sakhr district in the west coming from Amiriya Fallujah in Anbar. That resulted in a gunfight where two suicide bombers were killed along with 1 Hashd and four others being wounded. Jurf has been a favorite target for insurgents at it was previously IS’s main base in the south, and is now a military camp.

Since the start of the year there has been a slight increase in attacks in Baghdad and that trend continued into March. There were 24 incidents. All were small scale with 2 grenades, 3 Sticky Bombs, 6 shootings, and 11 IEDs. A Babil councilman said he received a report that IS leaders were meeting in south Baghdad and claimed that Latifiya a town in the outer south had become an IS base. The renewed violence is worrying as the capital has always been the focus of IS terrorism, and is a clear sign that the militants are renewing their networks.

Attacks have continuously gone up and down in Diyala for over a year now. The first week of March things were on an uptick with 12 incidents compared to just 2 the week before. That included five confrontations with insurgents in the northeast, east and center of the province. In one incident, the ISF was taking a prisoner from Baladrooz to Mandali when they were set upon. When reinforcements arrived to help, they were ambushed. 2 suicide bombers were killed as well in the Hamrin Mountain range. The fact that IS fighters were coming out to fight in short skirmishes with the security forces was a change as that only happened twice over the last month. A parliamentarian twice asked for the government to help with security because of the week’s violence.

Kirkuk along with Baghdad are the only two areas where insurgent activity has gone up in the last few months. There were 12 incidents during the week including 5 confrontations with IS. One on March 4, was rather large and resulted in 7 police deaths and 5 police injured. Almost all of those were in the south, usually in Hawija where fighters are back at work after having fled when the district was liberated at the end of last year. Militants also blew up a pipeline with an IED. Iraq Oil Report, explained how much of the south no longer has an ISF presence, and that the security forces are not receiving good intelligence on the insurgents.

Turkish strikes upon the PKK continued in northern Kurdistan. Turkish shelling an airstrike killed one civilian and 4 PKK members. Since the end of last year Ankara has increased its operations against the PKK in Iraq. That’s in response to not only the group’s increased role in Syria but also in Sinjar in Ninewa.

Iran was also accused of two assassinations in Irbil when a commander in the Democratic Party of Iranian Kurdistan was shot and killed in Irbil province and two more were wounded and a civilian died in a sticky bomb in that province.

As usual, more victims of the Islamic State were found in Ninewa. 40 in Badush and 27 others in two separate graves in Mosul were discovered. This happens every single week. A few months ago, the authorities claimed they had finished their work going through the rubble in Mosul, but as continued reports point out there are still lots of bodies to be found. Officials told the Associated Press they lacked the money to pay workers and hire equipment to complete the job. There are still attacks to the west as happened in Sinjar during the week, and to the south of Mosul. One major problem has been the lack of police to handle security. Ninewa Operations Command head General Najm al-Jabouri got Prime Minister Haidar Abadi to promise 10,000-12,000 police to fill that vacuum. A cabinet committee is to be formed to appoint the officers, which could take some time. Several articles have pointed out that Baghdad had no plan for post-IS security in the governorate, and turned to a hodgepodge of forces to hold territory as it was liberated. This has still not been resolved.  

Security In Iraq 2017-18
Week
Security
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
JAN 2017
719
1,923
4,374
FEB
628
1,891 + 399
2,511 + 1,634
MAR
720
3,504 + 278
3,302 + 2,925
APR
578
2,933
1,955
MAY
528
2,038
1,563
JUN
534
2,038
1,563
JUL
478
1,490
650
AUG
359
1,949
584
SEP
306
728
549
OCT
286
913
865 + 1,700
NOV
296
1,282
425
DEC
261
763
300
Jan 1-7
71
50
66
Jan 8-14
64
62
70
Jan 15-21
68
156
151
Jan 22-28
68
148
66
Jan 29-31
27
23
22
JAN 2018
298
439
375
Feb 1-7
66
196
67
Feb 8-14
65
63
93
Feb 15-21
59
346
43
Feb 22-28
55
44
72
FEB
245
649
275
Mar 1-7
78
120
84

Violence By Province Mar 1-7, 2018
Province
Violence
Anbar
7 Incidents
1 Killed
1 ISF
11 Wounded
3 Hashd
8 ISF

2 Shootings
3 IEDs
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
Babil
1 Incident
1 Killed
1 Hashd
4 Wounded
4 Hashd

1 Shooting
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
Baghdad
24 Incidents
12 Killed
1 ISF
11 Civilians
33 Wounded
33 Civilians

6 Shootings
11 IEDs
3 Sticky Bombs
2 Grenades
Diyala
12 Incidents
3 Killed
3 Civilians
11 Wounded
2 ISF
3 Hashd
3 Peshmerga
3 Civilians

7 Shootings
1 IED
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
Dohuk
1 Incident
1 Killed
1 Civilian

1 Turkish Shelling
Irbil
2 Incidents
2 Killed
1 Civilian
1 KDPI
2 Wounded
2 KDPI

1 Shooting
1 Sticky Bomb
Kirkuk
12 Incidents
11 Killed
1 Civilian
1 Peshmerga
2 Hashd
7 ISF
7 Wounded
7 ISF

8 Shootings
1 IED
1 Mortar
1 Grenade
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
KRG
1 Incident
4 Killed
4 PKK

1 Turkish Air Strike
Ninewa
12 Incidents
81 Killed
13 ISF
68 Civilians
8 Wounded
8 ISF

7 Shootings
2 IEDs
1 Car Bomb Dismantled
Salahaddin
6 Incidents
4 Killed
1 Civilian
3 ISF
8 Wounded
3 ISF
5 Peshmerga

2 Shootings
2 IEDs
3 Suicide Bombers Killed

SOURCES

Arraf, Jane, “Months After ISIS, Much Of Iraq’s Mosul Is Still Rubble,” NPR, 3/3/18

Baghdad Post, "Civil Defense Forces find mass grave of civilians killed by ISIS in Mosul," 3/2/18

Bas News, "Dozens of Hashd al-Shaabi Fighters, IS Militants Killed as Clash Breaks out in Hawija," 3/6/18

Buratha News, “Deputy for Diyala reveals the displacement of families from Khanaqin because of terrorist threats,” 3/7/18
- "Two suicide bombers were killed after being besieged northeast Diyala," 3/6/18

eKurd, "Iranian Kurdish HDK party commander assassinated in Iraqi Kurdistan: party," 3/7/18

Al Forat, “Tamimi calls on Abadi to intervene immediately to stop the deterioration of security in Diyala,” 3/5/18

Al Ghad Press, "Found a mass grave for Christians in Mosul," 3/1/18
- "The outcome of the clashes between the crowd and Daash in Amiriya Fallujah," 3/5/18

Al Jazeera, “Cleaning up Mosul: Challenge to identify the dead,” 3/1/18

Iraq Newspaper, "A Fierce Battle Between The 11th Brigade Of The Popular Crowd And Terrorists In Kirkuk," 3/5/18
- "Terrorists Surround The Fifth Brigade In Sinjar, Mosul," 3/7/18
- "Wounding A Number Of Members Of The Federal Police In A Daash Terrorist Attack Targeting The Abbasi District In The Hawija District Southwest Kirkuk," 3/3/18

Iraq Oil Report, “Northern Iraq reeling as IS regroups for insurgency,” 3/2/18

Al Journal, “In Qaim … The crowd and tribes face Daash remnants and Coalition is endangered,” 3/3/18

Al Maalomah, “Babil Council: Reveals secret meetings of senior Daash leaders south Baghdad and northern Hilla,” 3/4/18
- "A civilian was killed by Turkish shelling in a village in north Dohuk," 3/7/18
- "Four PKK members killed in Turkish raid in northern Iraq," 3/1/18
- "A mass grave was found in a public square in West Mosul," 3/7/18
- "One person killed and two wounded in a bomb explosion in Irbil," 3/1/18
- "Targeting an oil pipeline cutting road between Kirkuk and Sulaymaniya," 3/1/18

Mostafa, Mohamed, "Source: Iraqi forces kill 3 Islamic State fighters in Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 3/6/18

Mostafa, Nehal, "9 Islamic State members, security personnel killed, injured in suicide attack, north of Babel," Iraqi News, 3/5/18

NINA, "1 Fighter Of PMF Killed, 4 Wounded In Clashes With Daesh North Of Babylon," 3/6/18

Rudaw, "Two PDKI Peshmerga injured in bombing in Erbil," 3/1/18

Al Sumaria, "Anbar police detonate a suicide car bomb that tried to target a checkpoint in the province," 3/2/18
- "Two members of Daash were killed in clashes with popular crowd forces southwest Kirkuk," 3/7/18

Szlanko, Balint, “Bodies of suspected ISIS fighters still litter Mosul’s Old City months after battle,” Associated Press, 3/8/18

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