Levels of violence fell in Iraq last week, but the overall number of attacks was still above average. At least 69 people were killed and 179 injured in nationwide incidents. A total of 48 bombings left 42 people dead and over 160 injured. A rise in small arms attacks left 27 people dead and 11 injured.
Mosul experienced a significant proportion of last week’s violence. The security forces remain by far the most common target, but ethnic and religious minorities are also a common victim of violence. Militants also attacked electricity pylons and oil infrastructure in Ta’mim and Diyala provinces. Vulnerable assets such as lengthy pipelines and unmanned towers far from urban populations appear to have been deliberately singled out and organisations managing such assets are advised to review their security measures accordingly.
Most of last week’s violence in Iraq was concentrated along a belt of settlements in the central provinces, stretching from Hadithah in Anbar province, through Ramadi, Fallujah, Baghdad then on to Ba’qubah and Sa’adiyah in Diyala province. There was also a spike in activity in the holy city of Samarra (Salah ad-Din province) as Sunni radical groups appear to be stirring up sectarian tensions.
Three suicide bombings (including one which was foiled in Fallujah) left 18 people dead and 43 injured in the region last week. The use of suicide bombers indicates the enduring, and indeed rising activity of radical Islamists, including those affiliated with al-Qaeda. Given the latest rise in attacks in the region it would appear that the group is attempting to implement a co-ordinated and sustained campaign of violence aimed at discrediting the security forces and driving a wedge between the Sunni and Shi’ah communities. This in turn could lead to a worsening in conditions and put a major strain on the security forces.
At least six people were also kidnapped in what appears to have been a mini-spike in abductions in Anbar province last week. AKE will be issuing its next quarterly kidnap report in July. If you would like to purchase a copy in advance please contact [email protected].
The south of Iraq was relatively quiet last week, although there was a handful of non-fatal but nonetheless concerning attacks in Maysan and Dhi Qar provinces. Militia groups appear to be increasing their attacks against rivals organisations and their supporters, with a number of bombs detonated outside the homes of politically-connected individuals over recent weeks. However, casualties from these attacks remain minimal, while most economic interests (including the energy and construction sectors) are not being affected.
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.