Friday, March 23, 2018

Security In Iraq, Mar 15-21, 2018


During the third week of March attacks remained within the yearly mean, but casualties were up due to a series of bold attacks by the Islamic State plus a Turkish incursion into northern Irbil against the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK). There are growing signs that the militants are rebuilding five months after they made the transition from a conventional armed force to a terrorist/insurgent group.

There were 67 incidents recorded in Iraq from March 15-21. There was 1 incident in Dohuk, 4 in Babil, 4 in Irbil, 5 in Anbar, 9 in Diyala, 9 in Kirkuk, 10 in Ninewa, 11 in Salahaddin, and 14 in Baghdad. For 9 of the last 11 full weeks there have been around 50-60 incidents reported.

Security Incidents In Iraq By Province Mar 15-21, 2018
Dohuk 1
Babil 4
Irbil 4
Anbar 5
Diyala 9
Kirkuk 9
Ninewa 10
Salahaddin 11
Baghdad 14

Casualties In Iraq By Province Mar 15-21, 2018
Dohuk 1 (1 Killed)
Babil 2 (2 Wounded)
Diyala 11 (7 Killed, 4 Wounded)
Baghdad 21 (6 Killed, 15 Wounded)
Kirkuk 29 (19 Killed, 10 Wounded)
Salahaddin 33 (10 Killed, 23 Wounded)
Irbil 45 (45 Killed)
Ninewa 53 (52 Killed, 1 Wounded)
Anbar 71 (28 Killed, 43 Wounded)

There were 168 deaths and another 98 were wounded. 7 Hashd al-Shaabi, 20 Turkish soldiers, 25 PKK fighters, 26 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 90 civilians were killed along with 8 Hashd, 22 ISF, and 68 civilians being injured. Those casualties happened across Dohuk (1), Babil (2), Diyala (11), Baghdad (21), Kirkuk (29), Salahaddin (33), Irbil (45), Ninewa (53), and Anbar (71). 44 bodies, including 39 Indian workers killed by the Islamic State were discovered in Mosul, meaning there were 124 violent deaths, the most so far this year. That passed the previous high of 95 during the first week of February.

In Anbar, there were two attacks upon the security forces by IS that resulted in 11 dead soldiers and 11 wounded. Those occurred in Rutba and Qaim. Direct confrontations with the Iraqi forces have been rare in Anbar, so this was a decided change in tactics. Fallujah’s mayor also reported that over the last few weeks 15 people had died and another 30 injured by IEDs left by the insurgents after the city was liberated. Unexploded ordinance is a security threat across much of central Iraq as an aftermath of the war.

This was the second week that incidents in Baghdad declined. The second week of March there were 17 incidents, and then just 14 the next week. During the rest of the year there has been at least 20 incidents per week. Two suicide bombers were killed in Tarmiya in the northern section of the province, but otherwise incidents remained low level with 4 shootings and 7 sticky bombs and IEDs, plus a grenade. As a sign of the improved security situation within the city, the Baghdad Operations Command announced that concrete barriers were being removed and streets re-opened in the downtown area. Most incidents occur in the north and south, especially in the rural towns, so opening the center of the city should be a safe decision.

Diyala is a major area where IS was becoming bolder. It ambushed a patrol in Baquba killing 5 border police, and attacked two checkpoints, along with firing mortars on two rural towns. There were also three security sweeps during the week. The province is one of the main areas where insurgents are rebuilding. Despite the constant security operations, the Iraqi forces appear to have little presence in the rural areas. That has allowed IS freedom of movement throughout the countryside as well as moving back and forth to neighboring Salahaddin. This is a problem repeated in other governorates as well.

There was a decrease in incidents in Kirkuk with just 9 after seeing double digit figures each week since the end of January. Still, like Anbar and Diyala IS was much bolder this week. They conducted four ambushes and set up a fake checkpoint as well. Like Diyala, the Iraqi forces are concentrated in the cities giving the militants nearly free reign in the rural areas, especially in the south where most of the fighters fled rather than fight when the area was liberated. The Hashd and ISF have responded with a number of operations in Hawija, but like other parts of the country, these last for a few days and then IS to moves back in.

Turkey announced a new incursion into northern Irbil to hunt down PKK members and destroy their bases. This led to quite a lot of bloodshed as Turkish air strikes killed 25 PKK fighters, while 20 Turkish soldiers were killed in attacks by the Kurdish group. The last year has seen a decided change in this low level conflict. Turkey is troubled by the PKK’s expansion into Sinjar and its role in Syria, which has led to increased air strikes and shelling of Kurdistan. The PKK has not taken this standing down, and for the first time in years has attacked and killed Turkish soldiers in Iraq.

Low level violence continued in Ninewa. There were 10 incidents total, including a thwarted infiltration attempt in Baaj in the west, and two shootouts with IS in the south. Those are the two areas where the militants are still the most active, with very few incidents inside Mosul anymore.

Salahaddin is the other region where IS is making a comeback. There was an attack upon a military base, a fake checkpoint, and four gun battles with the security forces. Up to 14 police were also kidnaped during two of those occasions. Again, the lack of presence in the rural areas has given IS plenty of room to rebuild, and now they are becoming bolder as a result.

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
Mar 8-14
60
84
61
Mar 15-21
67
168
98

Violence By Province Mar 15-21, 2018
Province
Violence
Anbar
5 Incidents
28 Killed
11 ISF
17 Civilians
43 Wounded
11 ISF
32 Civilians

2 Shootings
3 IEDs
Babil
4 Incidents
2 Wounded
2 Hashd

1 Shooting
1 IED
Baghdad
14 Incidents
6 Killed
1 Hashd
5 Civilians
15 Wounded
1 Hashd
14 Civilians

4 Shootings
6 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
1 Grenade
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
Diyala
9 Incidents
7 Killed
2 Civilians
5 ISF
4 Wounded
1 ISF
3 Civilians

4 Shootings
4 IEDs
1 Sticky Bomb
2 Mortars
Dohuk
1 Incident
1 Killed
1 Civilian

1 Turkish Air Strike
Irbil
4 Incidents
45 Killed
20 Turkish Soldiers
25 PKK

2 Shootings
1 Turkish Air Strike
Kirkuk
9 Incidents
19 Killed
1 ISF
6 Hashd
12 Civilians
10 Wounded
2 ISF
3 Civilians
5 Hashd

6 Shootings
3 IEDs
Ninewa
10 Incidents
52 Killed
5 ISF
47 Civilians
1 Wounded
1 Civilian

5 Shootings
1 IED
1 Grenade
Salahaddin
11 Incidents
10 Killed
4 ISF
6 Civilians
23 Wounded
8 ISF
15 Civilians

10 Shootings
1 IED

SOURCES

Baghdad Post, “Iraqi lawmaker warns of ISIS regrouping in Diyala,” 3/17/18

Ebraheem, Mohammed, "Eight Iraqi soldiers killed, injured in Islamic State attack on Anbar roadblock," Iraqi News, 3/16/18
- "Iraqi troops kill seven Islamic State militants in Nineveh province," Iraqi News, 3/18/18
- "IS militants kill two people, kidnap three others at fake checkpoint in Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 3/20/18

Al Ghad Press, "Aborted attack on a security checkpoint southeast of Baquba," 3/16/18

Hath Al-Youm, “The liberation of 6 villages and the destruction of explosives belonging to Daash west Hawija,” 3/17/18

Iraq Newspaper, "Attack On Road And Killing 5 Members Of The Popular Crowd By Terrorists," 3/21/18
- "A Battle in Samarra And A Terrorist Explosive Charge In Ishaqi North Baghdad," 3/17/18

Al Maalomah, "21 civilians, including children, were killed and wounded between Daquq and al-Tuz," 3/20/18
- "A civilian was killed by Turkish air strikes near Dohuk," 3/15/18

Al Masalah, "PKK: The killing of two Turkish soldiers north Irbil," 3/20/18

Mostafa, Nehal, "2 suicide attackers killed, 4 people wounded in foiled attack, bomb blast in Baghdad," Iraqi News, 3/15/18
- "10 police personnel likely to be abducted during clashes against IS, south of Kirkuk: Source," Iraqi News, 3/21/18
- "Five people killed, injured as Islamic State launches attack, west of Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 3/19/18
- "Four army personnel wounded in armed attack, south of Salahuddin," Iraqi News, 3/21/18
- "Four Islamic State members killed in military operation in Diyala," Iraqi News, 3/15/18
- "Four policemen killed, twenty Islamic State State members arrested in Mosul," Iraqi News, 3/20/18
- "Paramilitary troops repel two Islamic State attacks, free four abducted personnel in Salahuddin," Iraqi News, 3/20/18
- "Security personnel killed, two others injured in Islamic State attack, northwest of Kirkuk," Iraqi News, 3/19/18

NINA, "A Military Operation Launched To Eliminate The Terror Spots In The Basic Of Lake Hamrin," 3/20/18
- "A military operation launched to hunt down Daesh cells east of Baquba," 3/18/18
- "The Popular Crowd repulsed a mobile detachment for Daesh in the border Hill of Safouk," 3/18/18
- "Six of the tribal crowd killed and wounded west of Kirkuk," 3/19/18
- "The Turkish Army announced the neutralization of /12/ Kurdish militants in an air strike in Iraq," 3/21/18

Rudaw, "Turkey: We carried out a military operation in northern Iraq Rudaw, “Turkey: We carried out a military operation in northern Iraq up to 15 km,” 3/16/18

Shafaaq News, "Dozens of bodies found of Indians in Iraq," 3/20/18

Sotaliraq, "A security crackdown in the Mosul area resulted in the arrest of Daash members," 3/20/18

Al Sumaria, “Baghdad Operations announces the reopening of an important main street in Talibiya,” 3/21/18
- "A child was injured by a mortar shell that landed in a liberated area north of Baquba," 3/21/18
- "Local source: Seven soldiers were killed and seven others wounded in an armed attack southeast al-Rutba," 3/15/18
- "The PKK announces the killing of 18 Turkish soldiers in armed clashes north of Irbil," 3/17/18
- "A soldier was wounded by a shooting at a checkpoint northeast of Baquba," 3/16/18
- "Three shells landed in the vicinity of a freed village north Diyala," 3/20/18

Xinhua, "7 IS militants killed in clashes with security forces in central Iraq," 3/15/18





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