Levels of violence rose significantly in Iraq last week. At least 50 people were killed and 149 injured in nationwide incidents. This is almost double the number of fatalities recorded the previous week. A total of 48 bomb attacks left 21 people dead and 138 injured. This is twice the number of bombings reported the previous week, but the majority of devices were relatively small and low yielding in terms of inflicting fatalities. There were no suicide bombings reported. Small arms fire attacks left 15 people dead and seven injured. Indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars) left one person dead and four injured.
The provinces of Ta’mim and nearby Ninawa were particularly violent last week, accounting for the majority of incidents recorded countrywide. Almost half of all the violent attacks recorded around Iraq took place in either Kirkuk or Mosul cities themselves. Two civilians were also injured in a landmine explosion in the mountains Kurdistan, highlighting an ongoing problem affecting rural areas for years.
Security measures have been increased in the capital since the start of a UN summit on the Iranian nuclear programme which began on 23 May. Congestion and disruption is not nearly comparable to that seen during the Arab League Summit but personnel should be prepared for disruption and delays nonetheless, as well as possible terrorist attacks aimed at discrediting the authorities and the process in general. Meanwhile, militants attempted to blow up an oil pipeline in Anbar province, illustrating both the fact that Anbar remains hazardous (the number of attacks has risen over the past five weeks) and that the energy sector remains one of the most attractive and politically sensitive targets for militants in the country.
The southern provinces were quiet last week but hostile threat groups retain a strong presence in the region and foreign nationals remain an attractive target. Careful caution is advised, despite the fact that the region sees far less violence than most other parts of the country.
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.