Levels of violence rose in Iraq over the past week. At least 60 people were killed and 168 injured in nationwide attacks, concentrated in Baghdad, Mosul and Kirkuk. Non-suicide bomb attacks left 41 people dead and 146 injured, while at least three suicide bombings, all of which were relatively unsuccessful, left nine people injured. Earlier on Monday a fourth suicide attack has also struck a prison in Taji, on the northern fringes of Baghdad. At least 11 people are reported to have been killed. A blast, suspected to be a mortar, has also hit the International/Green Zone, with at least one person killed at the time of writing.
Earlier in the week terrorists attacked a busy marketplace in Basrah, the day before an international oil and gas conference began in the city, killing and injuring several people, including a large number of police officers.
There has also been a countrywide rise in the number of small arms attacks, which left 17 people dead and 11 injured last week. This increase denotes a rise in the number of targeted assassinations and security force personnel and ministry employees should be on their guard amid the risk of further such attacks over the coming weeks.
Otherwise, a policeman and his son were abducted in Anbar province by unknown militants. A media worker was attacked by escaped unhurt in an incident in Bayaa district in Baghdad. Turkish military forces also continued their cross border operations in the Qandil Mountains. Fighting is continuing despite the onset of winter weather conditions, but the frequency of operations is likely to go into decline over the coming weeks.
The Coming Weeks
Meanwhile, last week saw the beginning of the Islamic New Year and holy month of Muharram. The Shi’ah community will now observe a period of mourning to commemorate the death of Imam Hussein. Religious travellers and worshippers are also likely to be targeted by terrorists over the coming six weeks.