Levels of violence rose in Iraq last week. Security measures were gradually relaxed following the conclusion of the Arab League Summit which appeared to grant militants slightly more opportunity to conduct attacks. At least 29 people were killed and 19 injured in nationwide incidents.
A total of 20 bomb attacks left 10 people dead and 12 injured countrywide. This is a rise from the previous week but the majority of the devices were small and low-yielding in terms of casualties. There were no suicide bombings recorded. A rise in the number of small arms fire attacks left 16 people dead and five injured. This is a relatively high figure, with most incidents taking place in Mosul. An additional indirect fire attack, also in Mosul, left two people dead and two injured.
Mosul suffered the majority of the country’s violence and Kirkuk was the next most badly affected area. Even the normally stable city of Arbil in Kurdistan saw a sticky bomb attack. Arrests have since been made of suspected terrorists involved in what was a very rare event for the normally secure region. Nonetheless travellers and organisations are reminded that even in Kurdistan it pays to be vigilant, although the level of risk is still little higher than much of Europe.
Baghdad saw only three attacks last week, with security measures remaining relatively tight in the days following the Arab League Summit. Otherwise, the central region saw two attacks on the energy sector last week, with an explosive device being made safe by the authorities on an oil field in Diyala province. A bomb attack on the Kirkuk-Ceyhan pipeline also temporarily disrupted service in an incident in Salah ad-Din province. Oil and gas companies are reminded that they work for an attractive sector for politically motivated violence.
The south of the country remained relatively quiet last week, although political tensions and rivalries between opposite organisations continue to simmer. Personnel are advised to continue monitoring conditions closely.
Kidnap for Ransom
Two civilians were abducted in Kirkuk last week, which remains the abduction capital of the country. Indeed AKE’s latest K&R report shows it to be one of the worst cities in the world for kidnap and ransom activity. While the majority of victims are Iraqi nationals foreigners are reminded that they remain an extremely attractive target as well. Extreme caution still needs to be exercised, particularly in and around Baghdad. If you would like to purchase a copy of the AKE quarterly report please email [email protected].
John Drake is a senior risk consultant with AKE, a British risk mitigation company working in Iraq since 2003. You can access AKE’s intelligence website Global Intake here, and you can obtain a free trial of AKE’s Iraq intelligence reports here.