Thursday, March 10, 2016

Security In Iraq, March 1-7, 2016

The start of March 2016 saw a decided increase in violence in Iraq. There was the highest number of reported security incidents the first week of the month since April 2015. That was due to heavy fighting in Anbar and Salahaddin, a large number of terrorist attacks in Baghdad, mortar fire in Diyala, an Islamic State crackdown in Kirkuk’s Hawija, and continued attacks upon the Peshmerga in Ninewa.

There were 183 security incidents in the media from March 1-7. That was the most since April 22-28, 2015 when there were 187. The week before there were 153, 130 from February 15-21, 119 from February 8-14, and 146 from February 1-7 showing that March’s numbers were a large increase.

As usual Baghdad led the way in violence with 76 incidents. There were also 30 in Anbar, 21 in Salahaddin, 20 in Ninewa, 15 in Diyala, 14 in Kirkuk, 6 in Babil, and 1 in Basra.

There were 321 deaths in the press and another 478 wounded. 2 Sahwa, 9 Peshmerga, 16 Hashd al-Shaabi, 62 members of the Iraqi Security Forces (ISF), and 232 civilians were killed and 2 Sahwa, 31 Hashd, 32 Peshmerga, 66 ISF, and 347 civilians were injured. Ninewa led the country with 102 deaths, followed by 90 in Baghdad, 67 in Babil, 23 in Anbar, 22 in Kirkuk, 10 in Salahaddin, 6 in Diyala, and 1 in Basra. The last was an education official that was assassinated.

Anbar remained the major battlefield in Iraq. The Iraqi forces had multiple operations going on leading to counter attacks by the Islamic State. A major offensive was begun in the north in the Thar Thar region with Thar Thar Lake cleared. Afterward the forces moved towards Haditha in the center of the province. There was also a push from Samarra in Salahaddin into Thar Thar with the government claiming it cleared 5,200 square kilometers of territory. This is a huge rural area, which the security forces have gone through multiple times. As they move on this area is likely to be vacated allowing IS to infiltrate back in as they have done multiple times in the past. Already a Hashd source complained to the press that the army was not helping secure areas there were cleared in the governorate.

There were multiple battles in the western section of the governorate as well. The security forces began a new assault on Garma to the west of Fallujah. The joint forces have been trying to break into the city since 2014. Two villages east of Fallujah were cleared, and new operations against Khalidiya Island, which is between Ramadi and Fallujah, and Albu Obeid and Albu Bali north of Ramadi started. That was the fourth time Albu Bali was assaulted, and the second time for Albu Obeid since July.

In response, IS carried out 30 attacks in Anbar. That included 4 suicide bombers on the 3rd Regiment headquarters in the Haditha district that killed a general. IS also claimed suicide bombings on Garma and Haditha. The government said it killed 13 suicide bombers, and destroyed 5 car bombs and 6 suicide car bombs. Those numbers are usually inflated. Finally, in the middle of February the government claimed it cleared Hamidya to the east of Ramadi, but fighting has never stopped there.

The United Nations did its first on the ground damage assessment of Ramadi. It found that the city was far more damaged then any other city in the country so far. Its initial report said that every building along the frontlines was damaged, the main hospital, train station, and 64 bridges were destroyed, and the electrical grid was down. Early satellite analysis by the U.N. estimated 5,700 buildings damaged since mid-2014, and around 2,000 completely wiped out. To make the situation worse, almost the entire population is in camps in western Anbar, and there is no money to rebuild the city due to Iraq’s financial crisis.

Since the end of 2015 IS has been increasing its attacks upon the capital. The 76 at the start of March were the most since the first week of May 2015 when there were 81. Most of the attacks were IEDs, 36, followed by 6 sticky bombs, 3 mortar attacks, and 1 motorcycle bomb. A car bomb was also found and dismantled. As usual, the south had the most incidents with 26 followed by 17 in the north, 14 in the east and west each, and 5 in the center. There were also 14 bodies dumped in the streets, 5 robberies and 3 kidnappings reported.

Security Incidents In Baghdad, Mar 1-7, 2016
Center: 5 – 1 Kidnapping Foiled, 1 Robber, 1 Shooting, 2 IEDs
East: 12 – 1 Grenade, 1 Shooting/Robbery, 2 Sticky Bombs, 2 IEDs, 6 Shootings
Outer East: 2 – 1 Sticky Bomb, 1 IED
North: 9 – 1 Robbery, 1 Sticky Bomb Dismantled, 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 Shootings, 4 IEDs
Outer North: 8 – 2 Shootings, 6 IEDs
South: 14 – 5 Shootings, 9 IEDs
Outer South: 12 – 1 Motorcycle Bomb, 1 Mortar, 1 Stabbing, 8 IEDs
West: 10 – 1 Mortar, 1 Car Bomb Destroyed, 1 Grenade, 1 Shooting, 2 Kidnappings, 2
Robberies/Shootings, 2 IEDs
Outer West: 4 – 1 Mortar, 1 Sticky Bomb, 2 IEDs

There was a new round of mortar fire in Diyala. 5 towns were mortared six different times during the week. Back in January IS was doing the same, but then shifted to suicide and car bombs.

IS has been firing rockets on towns in Kirkuk, while its crackdown on Hawija continued.
Every week since the start of February the militants have been firing rockets onto towns in Kirkuk. In March there were three such incidents. 9 people were also executed in Hawija, which has seen a slew of such incidents starting in March as reports began to spread of people attempting to flee IS controlled areas. In a related incident 5 people were killed by an IED trying to get out of the district. Before Kirkuk was one of the quietest provinces in Iraq, but that has begun to change in 2016 due to the indirect fire and IS trying to control Hawija.

Ninewa has been experiencing a similar situation. There were two chlorine rocket attacks upon the Peshmerga during the week. The army base in Makhmour, which is being used for preparations for the Mosul operation was also rocketed. IS carried out 8 probing assaults upon Peshmerga lines and claimed a suicide bombing as well. In the Mosul and Qayara areas IS reportedly executed 82 people. This has been the norm in the governorate for months. IS keeps on trying to find a weak point in the Kurdish front with no success, while carrying out a steady stream of murders in areas under its control of those that break its rules. Finally, a Coalition airstrike was blamed for killing a family of 6 in Mosul as well.

In conjunction with the Thar Thar operation in Salahaddin the joint forces started moving from Samarra towards Anbar as well as pushing up from that city to Baiji. 10 towns in the Samarra district were declared cleared along with Samarra Island. These areas had been contested for months. The goal is to try to cut IS’s supply lines from Anbar to Mosul. In response, IS carried out 3 suicide car bombs killing 4 Hashd, and wounding 29 ISF and Hashd. The government claimed it killed 3 suicide bombers, and destroyed 9 suicide car bombs and 20 car bombs. Again, the official numbers are usually exaggerated for propaganda purposes.

There were two more flare ups between Kurds and Hashd in Tuz Kharmato. Hashd elements were accused of opening fire at a market and some Kurds responded. There was also a shooting by Kurds two days beforehand. Tensions in the city have been going on since Tuz was liberated as the Kurds and Hashd both want to control it. The situation has gotten so bad that blast walls are being put up between Kurdish and Turkmen neighborhoods.

There were four successful car bombings in the first week of March. The most devastating was a truck bomb at a checkpoint in Babil’s Hillah that killed 61 and wounded 95. Three more hit their targets in the Samarra and Tikrit areas. The Iraqi forces said they destroyed another 42 in Anbar, Baghdad, Kirkuk and Salahaddin. Again, those official numbers need to be taken with a grain of salt.

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

Security By Province Mar 1-7, 2016
Mar 1-7, 2016
30 Incidents
23 Killed: 7 Hashd, 16 ISF
23 Wounded: 7 Hashd, 16 ISF
18 Shootings
2 IEDs
8 Suicide Bombers
3 Mortars
13 Suicide Bombers Killed
6 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
5 Car Bombs Destroyed
6 Incidents
67 Killed: 9 ISF, 58 Civilians
114 Wounded: 1 ISF, 113 Civilians
1 Shootings
4 IEDs
1 Suicide Truck Bomb
76 Incidents
90 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 5 ISF, 84 Civilians
235 Wounded: 13 ISF, 222 Civilians
20 Shootings
36 IEDs
6 Sticky Bombs
1 Motorcycle Bomb
2 Grenades
3 Mortars
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
1 Incident
1 Killed: 1 Civilian
1 Shooting
15 Incidents
6 Killed: 1 Hashd, 2 ISF, 3 Civilians
5 Wounded: 5 Civilians
4 Shootings
2 IEDs
6 Mortars
14 Incidents
22 Killed: 2 Hashd, 9 ISF, 11 Civilians
4 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 3 Hashd
4 Shootings
2 IEDs
3 Rockets
1 Car Bomb Destroyed
20 Incidents
102 Killed: 9 Peshmerga 19 ISF, 74 Civilians
53 Wounded: 1 Civilian, 20 ISF, 32 Peshmerga
10 Shootings
2 IEDs
5 Suicide Bombers
2 Chemical Rockets
1 Rockets
21 Incidents
10 Killed: 1 Sahwa, 1 Civilian, 2 ISF, 6 Hashd
44 Wounded: 2 Sahwa, 5 Civilians, 16 ISF, 21 Hashd
4 Shootings
7 IEDs
3 Suicide Car Bombs
1 Mortar
3 Suicide Bombers Killed
9 Suicide Car Bombs Destroyed
20 Car Bombs 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


Adel, Loaa, "Anbar Operations start liberating Khalidiya Island," Iraqi News, 3/6/16
- "Security forces destruct 3 booby-trapped vehicles for ISIS east of Ramadi," Iraqi News, 3/7/16
- "Security forces raise Iraqi flag in Tharthar Lake, liberate Um al-Araneb village," Iraqi News, 3/3/16

AIN, "Freed Albu Jarush village on the outskirts of Samarra Island," 3/2/16
- "Freed Badran camp in Garma and control western Siniya train, 3/1/16
- "Freed village of Albu Nimr west of Leine and destroying a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber," 3/2/16
- "More than 33 terrorists killed and mines found in various operations," 3/2/16
- "Three tank bombs blown up and 8 Daash vehicles north of Samarra Island," 3/3/16
- "Two car bombs detonated in southern hub of Samarra," 3/1/16

Bas News, “Separation Barrier Set up Between Kurds and Turkmens in Tuz Khurmatu,” 3/6/16

BBC, "IS conflict: Iraqi general killed in suicide attack on base," 3/1/16

eKurd, "Iraqi Kurds clash with Shiite militia in Tuz Khurmatu, Kurdish police secure the city," 3/6/16

Al Forat, "Iraqi flag raised over the last Daash strongholds in Siniya intersection," 3/3/16
- "A truck bomb destroyed by plan in southern axis of Samarra operations," 3/2/16

Independent Press Agency, "The Engineer confirms that Popular Crowd achieved the control of Samarra Island when the armies failed," 3/3/16

Al Maalomah, "20 Daash killed and the destruction of an armored truck bomb in aerial bombardment western Anbar," 3/2/16
- "The death of an entire family in bombing by international coalition in southern Mosul," 3/7/16
- "Defense Ministry announces the destruction of 18 car bombs and nine camps in western Samarra Island operation against Daash," 3/2/16
- “Sources in the Popular Crowd: The army does not help us to hold ground,” 3/7/16

Al Mada, "Abortive attempt to target security forces in Garma with four car bombs," 3/4/16
- "The joint forces begin to clear two areas north of Ramadi," 3/6/16
- "Samarra, wounding head of operations and five police blown up by suicide bomber," 3/1/16
- "The start of the second phase of the military operations to liberate areas between Salahuddin and Anbar," 3/6/16
- "Starting the process of freeing the center of Garma on two axes," 3/3/16

Mamoun, Abdelhak, "22 members of al-Hashed al-Shaabi killed, wounded in suicide bombing in Tikrit," Iraqi News, 3/1/16
- "URGENT: Iraqi Joint forces liberate 2 villages in western Samarra," Iraqi News, 3/1/16

Al Masalah, "The destruction of three car bombs on the outskirts of Samarra," 3/2/16

New Sabah, "Rapid progress by the joint forces and the popular crowd as they smash Daash defensive lines," 3/1/16
- "Security file," 3/2/16

NINA, "A booby-trapped excavator blown up near the Bashir village south of Kirkuk," 3/2/16
- "A Commander of a Regiment injured in operations in Samarra in a car bomb driven by a suicide bomber west of Samarra," 3/1/16
- "The liberation of scattered villages in the northern axis within the Island's security operations," 3/3/16
- "The popular crowd confirms the liberation of more than 5000 square kilometers of the basin in the Thar Thar operations," 3/6/16

Press TV, "Iraqi security forces recapture two areas in Anbar," 3/5/16

Reuters, “U.N. team calls destruction in Iraq’s Ramadi ‘staggering,’” 3/4/16

Rudaw, "Iraqi offensive targets ISIS in Anbar a day after commander's death," 3/2/16
- "Iraqi troops killed in ISIS rocket attack near Makhmour," 3/3/16

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Iraq: Death Toll From Sunday's Suicide Attack Climbs to 61," Associated Press, 3/7/16

Sarhan, Amre, "Anbar Operations announces liberating Hamediyah east of Ramadi," Iraqi News, 2/19/16
- "Security forces kill 12 ISIS elements in tactical operation north of Salahuddin," Iraqi News, 3/1/16

Sotaliraq, "Army unit destroyed a vehicle driven by a suicide bomber east of Ramadi," 3/6/16
- "A car bomb exploded west Baghdad under control," 3/4/16
- "Killing five people in Daash bombing while trying to escape from southwest Kirkuk," 3/7/16

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