Monday, August 18, 2014

Iraq Security Weekly Roundup

 Islamist militants led by the IS continue to battle with the federal and Kurdish security forces in several parts of the central and northern region but with the increased assistance being provided by the US military the militants are likely to lose territory in the short term in areas between Mosul and Erbil.

Otherwise fighting remains concentrated in areas with large Sunni populations, particularly the northern and central provinces.

Significant flashpoints include a large stretch of Ninawa province, areas south and west of Kirkuk, all of urban Anbar province (and numerous rural areas in the west of the province around the Syrian border), the Jurf as-Sakhr area of Babil province and many parts of Diyala and Salah ad-Din provinces. Baghdad also continues to see sporadic violence.

The southern region remains mostly quiet. The Kurdish administered north, while understandably rattled by IS activities around its peripheries, saw no major incidents of violence last week, although a significant influx of refugees will continue to put pressure on the authorities.

Last week a total of 39 non-suicide bomb attacks left 14 people dead and 77 injured countrywide. There were no additional suicide bombings reported which is statistically unusual.

Such a lull has occurred over recent years, normally either ahead of a significant co-ordinated terrorist attack involving a number of suicide bombers, or at a time when counter-insurgency operations intensify. The latter has occurred over recent days which may be the reason for the brief interruption in suicide attacks. Nonetheless, further suicide bombings, including co-ordinated potentially mass-casualty attacks, should be anticipated.

Small arms attacks left 11 people dead and four injured, including members of the security forces shot during clashes with militants. However, the true number of dead in the military operations is extremely difficult to ascertain.

At least 14 bodies were recovered abandoned in different parts of the central region (including in Baghdad).

Indirect fire incidents (rockets, mortars and military artillery shelling) left 23 people dead and 32 injured according to open sources, but some of the figures come from areas under militant control. The true casualty figures in these areas are only likely to be verified following a cessation of hostilities and with the conducting of an intense social survey on the ground, but such a development is likely a long way away.

Please note: 
*It is very difficult to ascertain the number of violent incidents and casualties in areas contested by Islamic State (IS) militants and the true figure is likely to be significantly higher.


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