Thursday, March 31, 2016

Security In Iraq, Mar 22-28, 2016

During the third week of March 2016, the Iraqi forces were still concentrating upon clearing out Anbar province after their victory in Ramadi, and began a new operation in Ninewa that started off slowly. This put added pressure upon the Islamic State and increased its move towards terrorism and insurgent attacks.

There were 135 attacks in Iraq reported in the press from March 22-28. That was roughly the same as the previous week when there were 130, and lower than the first two weeks. Baghdad had the most incidents with 71, and there were 20 each in Anbar and Ninewa, 10 in Babil, 7 in Salahaddin, 6 in Diyala, and one in Kirkuk.

Those incidents led to 206 deaths and 420 injuries. 1 Turkish Soldiers, 2 Sahwa, 4 Hashd al-Shaabi, 6 Peshmerga, 35 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 158 civilians were killed, and 1 Turkish soldiers, 1 Sahwa, 3 Peshmerga, 17 Hashd, 80 ISF, and 318 civilians were wounded. Baghdad had the most fatalities with 73, followed by 52 in Babil, 40 in Ninewa, 29 in Anbar, 10 in Diyala, and one each in Kirkuk and Salahaddin.

The Iraqi forces were involved in several operations in Anbar province. There was a lot of confusion about Kubaisa in the center of the governorate. Two areas were said to be cleared and the police station taken, and then the military said that didn’t happen. The previous week the whole town was said to have been freed, and then the ISF reported that didn’t happen. Then on March 26 the town was declared liberated once again. This was the third time since September the Iraqi forces had gone through the area.

The Hit offensive has also gone in fits and spurts. The police directorate was cleared on March 27, and two towns the next day. The week before operations there had to be called off as ISF units were sent to Baghdad to provide security for the Sadr demonstrations.

As plans to liberate Fallujah have stalled, the joint forces went into Saqlawiya and Albu Shijil to the west of the city. Two sections of the district were freed in the middle of the week. This area has been contested since July.

Finally, the Iraqi forces were still fighting for Garma where Garma Bridge was taken. IS still holds the center of the town, which the ISF and Hashd have not been able to take in two years of fighting.

The Islamic State responded to these actions with 16 attacks throughout the center of Anbar. One suicide car bomb and two suicide bombers were able to hit the Iraqi forces, while they claimed to have destroyed 12 car bombs, 16 suicide car bombs, and killed 17 suicide bombers. As usual, a lot of those numbers were inflated. For example, IS claimed 5 suicide bombers attacked the Ain Assad base. The Iraqi forces claimed eight were killed with no casualties. It turns out two got into the base and killed 18 soldiers.

In Babil a suicide bomber exploded his device at a soccer match in Iskandiriya. That left 41 dead and 105 wounded. The next day a suicide bomber was killed in Yusifiya. This is another sign that IS is reverting to terrorism and headline grabbing bombings as it loses territory and is thrown on the defensive.

After a large dip in attacks the previous week due to increased security due to protests, incidents went back up in Baghdad from March 22-28. There were 71 for the week. As usual the south was the main target of IS with 25 incidents including 17 IEDs. Crime and vigilantism continued as well with 3 major robberies, 8 kidnappings, and 12 bodies being dumped.

Violence in Baghdad, Mar 22-28, 2016
Center: 2 – 2 IEDs
East: 13 – 1 Robbery, 1 Robbery/Shooting, 2 Kidnappings, 4 Shootings, 5 IEDs
Outer East: 2 – 1 Kidnapping, 1 IED
North: 9 – 2 Sticky Bombs, 3 IEDs, 4 Shootings
Outer North: 8 – 1 Kidnapping, 2 Sticky Bombs, 2 Shootings, 3 IEDs
South: 17 – 2 Kidnappings, 3 Shootings, 12 IEDs
Outer South: 8 – 3 Shootings, 5 IEDs
West: 8 – 3 Shootings, 5 IEDs
Outer West: 3 – 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 IEDs
Unknown: 1 – 1 Suicide Bomber Arrested

There was a security sweep through Baquba to try to hunt down IS sleeper cells. A Hashd leader claimed there were still 200-300 IS fighters in the province in places like Mukhisa, the Hamrin Mountains and Mandali. After a series of mass casualty bombings in the governorate, there have been protests demanding that security officials be fired and the public better protected. In the last two weeks however, there have been single digit attacks in the province.

Kirkuk, which had seen a spate of attacks upon the Peshmerga and executions in Hawija, was almost completely quite during the week. One person was shot and killed and that was the only reported violence.

The Iraqi forces launched a new offensive in the Makhmour district of Ninewa. The government portrayed this as the start of the liberation of the province, but the goals were actually much more modest. The main point was to clear out IS cells, which had been attacking military bases in the district. In the longer term it was hoped that Qayara could be taken, which is an important supply hub between Ninewa and Kirkuk. From all foreign reporting on the operations things have not gone well initially. Poor weather kept Coalition air strikes at bay and made the terrain muddy and hard to maneuver through. The Iraqi forces initially claimed that they had taken eight villages and that 80% of Qayara had been freed, but that was propaganda. Only three towns were freed, and the main goal of the first day, taking Nasir, was not achieved. The 15th Division was in charge of the attack, which is a new unit. It should be no surprise then that it was struggling in its first combat. Turkey also got involved in the fight when another one of its soldiers was killed and one wounded in an IS rocket attack upon a camp it conducts training in. Turkey responded with artillery fire and air strikes in the area. It was just those types of incidents that inspired the Makhmour operation in the first place.

IS responded to the government effort with a wave of suicide and car bombs. Two were able to hit Iraqi forces, while they claimed to have destroyed six suicide car bombs and killed 21 suicide bombers. Like in Anbar, those numbers were often inflated. For instance, initial reports had 5 suicide bombers killed in an attack at the end of the week, but by the end of the day that had gone up to 17 killed.

Yazidi militias continued their push in the Sinjar distract. Two towns were cleared, which interdicted an IS supply route to Syria.

In Mosul, IS executed 30 people. In January there was a huge wave of executions with several hundred people being killed almost every week, but those numbers have gone back down since then. There was some speculation that IS was cracking down upon the population in anticipation of a Mosul offensive. Whatever the cause that appears to be over now.

Salahaddin was another province that saw hardly any security breakdowns. There were only 7 incidents during the week leading to one death. Violence has been going down there since Baiji was retaken. There are occasional large clashes in the northeast in places like the Ajeel and Alas oil fields, the Baiji district, and the Makhoul Mountains, but otherwise the rest of the province is relatively stable with occasional IS terrorist and insurgent attacks. On the other hand, tensions continue to be high in Tuz Kharmato between Turkmen and Kurds. Kurdish Special Forces were deployed there during the week.

There were only three successful car bombs in Iraq during the week. Two went off in Ninewa and one in Anbar targeting the security forces. 36 more were said to be destroyed, but the real number is probably less than that. Overall, IS appears to be launching fewer car bombs. In December and January there was a car bomb campaign with over 60 going off, but in February there were less than 9 successful bombings, and March looks like it will have a similar low figure.

Violence In Iraq 2015-16
3,032 + 150
2,565 + 1,499
1,952 + 646
2,153 + 405
3,198 + 4,024
2,440 + 760
1,668 + 3,003
1,455 + 124 + 1,322
1,252 + 5,920
Jan 1-7
Jan 8-14
Jan 15-21
Jan 22-28
Jan 29-31
Feb 1-7
Feb 8-14
Feb 15-21
Feb 22-29
Mar 1-7
Mar 8-14
Mar 15-21
Mar 22-28

Security By Province Mar 22-28, 2016
20 Incidents
29 Killed: 7 ISF, 22 Civilians
23 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 4 Hashd, 18 ISF
4 Shootings
3 IEDs
2 Suicide Bombers
1 Suicide Car Bomb
1 Mortar
17 Suicide Bombers Killed
16 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
12 Car Bombs Destroyed
10 Incidents
52 Killed: 4 ISF, 48 Civilians
133 Wounded: 5 ISF, 128 Civilians
3 Shootings
5 IEDs
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
71 Incidents
73 Killed: 2 Sahwa, 4 ISF, 4 Hashd, 63 Civilians
201 Wounded: 1 Sahwa, 5 ISF, 13 Hashd, 182 Civilians
18 Shootings
35 IEDs
7 Sticky Bombs
1 Suicide Bomber Arrested
6 Incidents
10 Killed: 1 Civilian, 3 ISF, 6 Peshmerga
6 Wounded: 1 ISF, 2 Civilians, 3 Peshmerga
4 IEDs
1 Mortar
1 Suicide Bomber Arrested
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
20 Incidents
40 Killed: 1 Turkish Soldier, 16 ISF, 23 Civilians
57 Wounded: 1 Turkish Soldier, 5 Civilians, 51 ISF
9 Shootings
2 Suicide Car Bombs
3 Mortars
1 Rocket
21 Suicide Bombers Killed
6 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
7 Incidents
1 Killed: 1 ISF
6 Shootings
4 Suicide Bombers Killed
1 Suicide Car Bomb Destroyed
1 Car Bomb Destroyed

Car Bombs In Iraq Mar 1-7, 2016
Car Bombs
Mar 1
Leine, Tikrit & West of Samarra, Salahaddin
Samarra Island & Shirqat, Salahaddin – 8 destroyed
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
Mar 7
East of Ramadi, Anbar – 1 destroyed
4 – 42 Destroyed
Mar 8
Mar 9
Kirkuk-Sulaymaniya Road, Kirkuk – 1 destroyed
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 – 5 destroyed
3 – 14 Destroyed
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
3 – 37 Destroyed
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
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
Mar 27
Mar 28
Thar Thar, Anbar – 3 destroyed
3 – 36 Destroyed


Adel, Loaa, "Anbar Operations forces repulse ISIS attack in southern Fallujah," Iraqi News, 3/23/16
- "Security forces liberate Kabisa vicinity south of Heet," Iraqi News, 3/19/16

AIN, "71st Brigade forces stormed the village of Nasir and clashed with Daash in Nineveh," 3/28/16

Alsumaria, "Anbar Operations announces the destruction of three car bombs in clearing Albu Abad area," 3/22/16
- "Federal Police announced killing 29 Daash members in clashes in Thar Thar and Baiji," 3/28/16

Associated Press, "Death toll rises to 41 after ISIS bombing at Iraq stadium," 3/26/16

Buratha News, "Cleared two regions north of Fallujah and killed dozens of Daash terrorists," 3/25/16
- "The joint forces cleared two areas in Kubaisa west of Ramadi," 3/24/16
- "Killing 10 Daash terrorists and the destruction of a booby-trapped bulldozer in Thar Thar," 3/22/16

Coles, Isabel and Hameed, Saif, “Iraq launches offensive against Islamic State south of Mosul,” Reuters, 3/24/16

eKurd, “Kurdish special Peshmerga force deployed to Iraq’s Tuz Khurmatu,” 3/25/16

Al Forat, "Video: four car bombs destroyed by shelling in western Anbar's Kubaisa," 3/22/16

George, Susannah, “Baghdad politics slows fight against IS in Anbar,” Associated Press, 3/22/16

Indo-Asian News Service, "Iraq security forces repel suicide car bomb attacks by ISIS," 3/24/16

Kurd Press, "Kurdish, Yazidi forces cut off key IS supply rout," 3/26/16

Al Maalomah, "Army Air destroys a bulldozer bomb in western Anbar," 3/24/16
- "Defense: destruction of three Daash vehicles northwest of Salahuddin," 3/22/16
- "A military source: the Popular Crowd in control of 80% of Qayyarah," 3/25/16
- "Popular crowd announces freeing Garma bridge," 3/24/16
- "Raised the Iraqi flag over the police station building in west Kubaisa, Anbar," 3/24/16

MacDiarmid, Campbell, “The Fight to Retake Mosul: Inside the Assault on the Islamic State’s Stronghold in Iraq,” Vice News, 3/26/16
- "Iraq Army Mosul offensive stalls in face of fierce fighting, desertions," USA Today, 3/29/16

Al Mada, "Army raises flag in Kubaisa and calls residents to stay indoors," 3/26/16
- “Popular Crowd: 300 fighters from Daash stationed in areas of Diyala,” 3/23/16

Mamoun, Abdelhak, "Federal police repels ISIS attack on Makhoul hills, kills 4 suicide bombers," Iraqi News, 3/23/16
- "Iraqi join forces cleanse Heet Police Building, kill dozens of ISIS members," Iraqi News, 3/27/16
- "Joint forces launch military operation to cleanse Saqlawiyah in northern Fallujah," Iraqi News, 3/23/16
- "Security forces cleanse 2 areas, kill 17 ISIS militants in western Ramadi," Iraqi News, 3/28/16

New Sabah, "Security file," 3/22/16

NINA, "The Military media cell denied the entry of our armed forces to Kubasa district," 3/24/16
- "Military Media Cell: News About Freeing Kubaysa And Part of Hit Areas incorrect," 3/21/16
- "The Popular Crowd repelled Daash attack in the Thar Thar area, Haditha," 3/26/16
- "The tribal crowd forces killed "eight" snipers and repelled an attack by Daash south of Mosul," 3/26/16

Reuters, “Turkish soldier killed in northern Iraq after Islamic State fires rockets: army,” 3/26/16

Rudaw, "In fierce clashes, Iraqi army fighting ISIS for strategic northern village," 3/26/16

Salih, Mohammed, "Iraqi army attempts to recapture Nineveh province," Al Jazeera, 3/27/16

Sarhan, Amre, "Army forces kill 4 ISIS suicide bombers in Qayyarah south of Nineveh," Iraqi News, 3/26/16

Sattar, Sardar, "Latest Reports: Pushing Towards Mosul, the Iraqi Army Liberates Eight Villages," Bas News, 3/24/16

Sotaliraq, "Security forces kill and arrest suicide bombers south Baghdad intending to target protesters in Green Zone," 3/26/16

Van Wilgenburg, Wladimir, “Iraqi Soldiers Flee Again in Iraq Army’s First Mosul Operation,” Daily Beast,” 3/26/16

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