Thursday, February 27, 2014

Musings On Iraq Security Report Feb. 15-21, 2014

 
The third week of February was the deadliest of the month. February 15-21, 2014 saw not only the most reported attacks, but the most casualties as well. This was due to a combination of on going fighting in Anbar, increased violence in Babil and Salahaddin, plus continued bombings in Baghdad. While most of the focus has been on Anbar and the regular explosions in the capital, the insurgents have been able to pick up their operations in other provinces as well.

The third week of February was the worst of the month. The press reported a total of 264 security incidents. That was more than the first week’s 204 and the second’s 227. February 15-21 averaged out to 37.8 attacks per day. In total, there have been 696 incidents for an average of 33.1 per day. Ninewa had the most attacks with 55, followed by 54 in Salahaddin, 52 in Baghdad, and 48 in Anbar. There were also 16 in Babil and 16 in Tamim, plus 2 in Basra and Maysan each. Unlike the previous two weeks there were more shootings, 132, than bombings, 116. However there was a big jump in car bombings going from 9 in February 8-14 to 22 from February 15 to 21. Those vehicle delivered explosives were the major reason why the third week saw a jump in casualties as they are used in mass casualty attacks. There were a total of 347 deaths and 703 wounded for the week. Civilians were the major victims with 185 killed and 519 injured. That was far more than the previous two weeks when there were 296 deaths the first week and 255 in the second. February 18 was the deadliest day of the week when there were 50 attacks leading to 70 killed and 225 wounded. Most of those occurred in Baghdad, which saw 11 incidents, 22 dead and 90 wounded. Even on a relatively quite day such as February 20 when there were only 21 reported incidents, the insurgents were still able to kill 47 and leave 100 wounded. In total there have been 898 fatalities for the month so far along with 1,904 injured.


Reported Violence In Iraq Feb. 1-21, 2014

Attacks
Deaths
Wounded
2/1/14
36
35
94
2/2/14
28
28
28
2/3/14
32
54
116
2/4/14
21
20
77
2/5/14
34
89
169
2/6/14
35
50
162
2/7/14
18
20
54
Sub-Total
204
296
700
2/8/14
36
36
70
2/9/14
36
36
56
2/10/14
33
41
96
2/11/14
31
28
93
2/12/14
35
36
71
2/13/14
36
45
76
2/14/14
20
33
39
Sub-Total
227
255
501
2/15/14
40
43
44
2/16/14
50
59
70
2/17/14
40
55
108
2/18/14
49
70
225
2/19/14
44
59
125
2/20/14
21
47
100
2/21/14
20
14
31
Sub-Total
264
347
703
Total
695
898
1,904

Ninewa saw the most incidents of the week. There were 55 in the 3rd week compared to 36 in the second and 41 in the first. That resulted in 49 deaths and 72 wounded. The security forces were the main targets suffering 31 killed and 42 wounded. As usual, most of the attacks there were small, targeted ones meant to intimidate those in the Mosul area. On February 15 for example, a professor at Tikrit University was gunned down in Jadeeda, while three Federal Police were shot and beheaded in Shura. At the same time there was an assault upon the town of Hadhar when a suicide truck bomb was used against a bridge leaving 10 casualties, followed by the bombing of the local police station and the municipal council building. There were a total of 33 shootings and 13 improvised explosive devices (IEDs) with 30 attacks in Mosul, followed by 4 in Hadhar and Shura each, plus 3 in Tal Afar during the week.

Reported Violence In Ninewa, Feb. 15-21, 2014
Date
Attacks
Killed
Wounded
2/15/14
9
12
10
2/16/14
11
5
13
2/17/14
8
11
18
2/18/14
10
10
11
2/19/14
10
8
13
2/20/14
6
3
5
2/21/14
1
0
2
Totals
55
49
72


Salahaddin has been one of the main provinces where insurgents have increased their activity since the fighting started in Anbar. There were 54 reported security incidents there for the week leading to 84 deaths and 135 wounded. Those were the highest amounts for the month so far. Much of that was due to the attempt to take over the town of Sulaiman Bek by insurgents, which is in the northern section of the governorate. The shooting started on February 16, which left 11 police dead. The next day the security forces claimed they retook the town, but they were in fact quickly beaten back. February 18 the police station was hit by rockets leaving 2 police fatalities and 11 injured, February 19 the provincial police chief went to check on the situation and was hit by an IED killing three of his bodyguards, while the police station was hit again, this time with mortars that caused 5 police deaths and 13 wounded, plus there was gunfire with the militants resulting in 2 soldiers dying and six wounded. It seemed like the town was pacified, but there was another shoot out on February 21. In total there were 26 shootings, 20 IEDs, 4 car bombs and a sticky bomb during the week with 14 attacks in Shirqat, 11 in Tikrit, 7 in Sulaiman Bek, and four in Samarra.


Reported Violence In Salahaddin, Feb. 15-21, 2014
Date
Attacks
Killed
Wounded
2/15/14
11
16
5
2/16/14
10
23
14
2/17/14
8
4
11
2/18/14
3
6
31
2/19/14
11
24
62
2/20/14
6
6
7
2/21/14
5
5
5
Totals
54
84
135

Baghdad saw its usual level of violence for the third week of February. There were 52 attacks, 79 killed, and 217 wounded. As usual, car bombs were the major cause of casualties. February 17 saw three. One went off near a hospital in Ur resulting in 10 fatalities and 23 wounded, the second was in Karrada with 9 deaths and 24 wounded, and the third was in Ghazilia near some shops that killed 4 and injured a further 11. February 18 there were four car bombs in Baya, Shurta Rabia, Karrada, and Amil leaving 17 dead and 83 wounded. Along with those car bombings there were 16 IEDs, 8 sticky bombs, and 19 shootings. In Baghdad the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS) is attempting to re-start the sectarian war by striking both Shiite and Sunni areas in the hopes that the two will blame each other for the carnage.


Reported Violence In Baghdad, Feb. 15-21, 2014
Date
Attacks
Killed
Wounded
2/15/14
6
2
16
2/16/14
9
9
7
2/17/14
10
28
70
2/18/14
11
22
90
2/19/14
10
12
24
2/20/14
2
2
7
2/21/14
4
4
3
Totals
52
79
217

 
Fighting continued in Anbar. There were 48 incidents with 54 killed and 89 wounded. The actual numbers are likely much higher since there are daily clashes going on in the province, not all of which get reported in the press. This has been going on in the same neighborhoods of Ramadi and Fallujah since the conflict started in December, plus insurgents have been able to spread out into the surrounding towns. Government shelling and mortar fire is also leading to many casualties. February 15 for instance, government artillery fire on Fallujah left 3 dead and 4 wounded. Finally, there has been an increase in the use of suicide bombers. There were five for the week including one on an army base in Ramadi, one on a checkpoint at Warrar Bridge north of Ramadi, one on Albu Bali, one on Sheikh Abu Risha’s compound north of Ramadi, and the last one a bridge in Khalidiya. In total those left 13 dead and 36 wounded. Ramadi with 19 incidents and Fallujah with 11 remained the main areas of conflict in the province.


Reported Violence In Anbar, Feb. 15-21, 2014
Date
Attacks
Killed
Wounded
2/15/14
8
3
4
2/16/14
10
8
20
2/17/14
6
3
6
2/18/14
6
16
16
2/19/14
7
10
10
2/20/14
4
11
16
2/21/14
7
3
17
Totals
48
54
89

 
Babil has been the other province where violence has recently picked up. There were just 17 attacks there for the week, but that left 55 dead and 137 wounded. Last week there were set battles between ISIS and the security forces in Jurf al-Sakhr. That town again saw the most attacks, but they were much smaller than last week. February 15 there were 2 roadside bombs on the security forces and mortar fire in the town. February 16 there was another mortar barrage. February 18 a border police commander was assassinated there in a drive-by shooting, and February 19 a checkpoint was attacked. The deadliest incident was mortar fire on a market in Musayib that left 23 dead and 59 wounded on February 20. There were also seven car bombs all on February 18 in Hillah, Musayib, Iskandiriya, and Mahawil that caused 15 fatalities and 66 injured. This was a big change for the governorate that had been relatively quite in January and the first week of February. Now ISIS appears to be making it a main battlefield in the country.


Reported Violence In Babil, Feb. 15-21, 2014
Date
Attacks
Killed
Wounded
2/15/14
3
10
8
2/16/14
3
3
4
2/17/14
2
3
0
2/18/14
5
16
66
2/19/14
1
0
0
2/20/14
2
23
59
2/21/14
0
0
0
Totals
17
55
137

 
Tamim and Diyala have only seen low-level violence for the last several weeks. From February 15-21 there were 19 attacks in Diyala with 13 killed and 27 wounded, while there were 16 incidents in Tamim, 11 deaths, and 26 injured. Most of the attacks in both provinces were small such as attacks upon checkpoints and IEDs on the security forces and Sons of Iraq.


Reported Violence In Diyala, Feb. 15-21, 2014
Date
Attacks
Killed
Wounded
2/15/14
0
0
0
2/16/14
3
3
4
2/17/14
2
3
3
2/18/14
9
0
4
2/19/14
3
4
7
2/20/14
1
2
6
2/21/14
1
1
3
Totals
19
13
27

Reported Violence In Tamim, Feb. 15-21, 2014
Date
Attacks
Killed
Wounded
2/15/14
2
0
1
2/16/14
3
8
8
2/17/14
3
2
0
2/18/14
5
0
7
2/19/14
2
1
9
2/20/14
0
0
0
2/21/14
1
0
1
Totals
16
11
26

 
Finally, there was sporadic violence in the south. Basra saw a shooting and grenades thrown at four houses. While Maysan witnessed two drive by shootings on February 17 and 21, which resulted in one death each. Unless ISIS launches a car bombing southern Iraq is largely untouched by the violence. The incidents in Basra and Maysan could have been the work of anyone from insurgents to gangs to militias to personal disputes.

Iraq today is much like 2004. That was when the insurgency first took off. They are repeating that now with the set battles in Anbar, Babil, and Salahaddin. That showed that the militants are moving from terrorist attacks to attempting to take and hold ground. That all adds up to a very bloody year ahead.

SOURCES

This report is based upon almost 1,000 articles from the Western and Iraqi press. For the sake of space only those reports that were directly cited in the piece were listed as sources.

Agence France Presse, "Security forces kill 15 militants, retake Iraq town," 2/17/14

AIN, "2 car bombs explode in Hilla," 2/18/14
- "Civilians' houses attacked in various areas in Basra," 2/16/14
- "Key officials residence attacked central Basra," 2/15/14

Buratha News, "The high number of victims of the explosion of Karrada to the death and injury of 29 people," 2/17/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding of 13 elements of the police station on the Sulaiman Bek in a Katyusha rocket attack," 2/18/14
- "Wounding three civilians, the fall of mortar shells at the village of North Babylon," 2/16/14

Hamid, Safaa Abdel, "Dead and wounded in a suicide bombing targeted the headquarters of the army central Ramadi," Alsumaria, 2/16/14

Independent Press Agency, "A car bomb, a police said fourth 17 people dead and injured," 2/18/14
- "Killing and wounding nine people in a car bombing in Baghdad's Amil district,' 2/18/14
- "More than 50 people were killed or wounded in the Karrada blast toll," 2/18/14

Al Mada, "Civilian killed in an armed attack downtown Amarah," 2/21/14
- "Civilian killed in an armed attack south of Amarah, "2/17/14
- "The death of the commander of the border police regiment in an armed attack south of Baghdad," 2/18/14
- "Killing and wounding 56 people, the outcome of the Baghdad bombings," 2/18/14
- "Tigris Operations: 20 militants killed in Sulaiman Bek, mostly from Salahuddin and we control 80% of the area," 2/19/14

Al Masalah, "The explosion of a double car bomb attacks in downtown Hilla," 2/18/14
- "Killed five civilians and wounded 12 by a roadside bomb in Babylon," 2/18/14
- "Killed three civilians and wounded 14 by a roadside bomb attack in Hilla," 2/18/14
- "Killed two people and wounded 27 by a roadside bomb near a residential building in Alexandria, Babylon," 2/18/14
- "Toll rises mortar shells in the district of Musayyib to 23 dead and 48 injured," 2/20/14

NINA, "Dijlah Operations: /85/ armed elements killed and wounded in Sulaiman Bek area," 2/21/14
- "Killing and wounding of /9/ policemen, north of Ramadi," 2/17/14
- "A Number of Military and Swat Personnel Killed and Wounded by a Suicide Attack East of Ramadi," 2/21/14
- "Police chief of Salahuddin province survives from an assassination attempt east of Tikrit,"2/19/14
- "A Professor Got Martyrdom by an Armed Attack on his Home West of Mosul," 2/15/14
- "Security Forces Restore their Control over al-Hadhar District in Nineveh," 2/16/14
- "Seven Militants Killed in an Attack North of Babylon," 2/19/14
- "Three civilians killed and four others wounded in Fallujah," 2/15/14
- "Three Federal Policemen Killed in South of Mosul," 2/15/14

Al Rayy, "The death of 11 policemen and killing a number of terrorists in Solomon Beck," 2/16/14
- "The death of a child by mortar north of Babylon," 2/15/14
- "Martyrdom and wounding 11 soldiers, the outcome of a suicide bombing in eastern Ramadi," 2/16/14

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Bombings In Iraqi Capital Kill At Least 23 People," Associated Press, 2/17/14
- "Bombs, clashes kill 7 from Iraq security forces," Associated Press, 2/15/14
- "Mortar Attack Against Iraqi Town Kills at Least 22," Associated Press, 2/20/14

Salman, Duraid, Hamid, Safaa Abdel, "The end of toll bridge urban bombing at 10 dead and wounded," Alsumaria, 2/15/14

Xinhua, "16 killed in separate violence attacks across Iraq," 2/19/14
- "Iraq's Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr quits politics, sporadic violence continues," 2/17/14

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