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The latest Iraq Security News – Baghdad, Kirkuk, Mosul Karbala, Najaf, Bomb Attacks, Iraq Security Trends and more – brought to you by Iraq Business News

Weekly Security Update for 27th June 2012


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.

North
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.

 

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

Centre
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].

South
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.

 

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Weekly Security Update for 13th June 2012


Levels of violence rose in Iraq last week. At least 79 people were killed and 207 injured in nationwide incidents, more than double the figure recorded the previous week. A total of 21 non-suicide bomb attacks left 24 people dead and 36 injured. This is a relatively standard figure for the country. However, a suicide bombing, documented in last week’s update, killed a further 24 people and injured 125 in central Baghdad on 4 June. A notable rise in the number of small arms fire attacks left 21 people dead and 11 injured. Most took place in the central region (Anbar and Diyala provinces) as well as the northern city of Mosul. Conditions have continued to worsen this week with a series of attacks around the country taking place earlier today.

 

The Latest Bombings

At the time of writing bombs have killed dozens of people across Iraq, with casualty figures likely to rise over the coming hours. The attacks appear to have targeted Shi’ah worshippers, the security forces, mosques, political offices, marketplaces and gatherings of labourers. The incident comes a day before Shi’ah worshippers commemorate the death of Imam Musa al-Kadhim, and follows several attacks on Shi’ah interests over the past month. Given the targeting, co-ordination and distribution of the attacks the latest bombings may well be the handiwork of an al-Qaeda affiliated organisation. It is likely that whoever is responsible is seeking to provoke a backlash from the Shi’ah community, thus stirring up sectarian tensions in the country.

 

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

North

The Turkish military is reported to have bombed suspected PKK sites in mountainous parts of the border in Amedi district (Dahuk province). This is an ongoing occurrence although the majority of such incidents tend to have a very minimal impact on the majority of personnel and organisations operating in the region. Militants also blew up a pipeline in Ta’mim province at the weekend, although overall exports were not affected. The bombing was not in an area frequented by Kurdish terrorist groups, such as the PKK, who have attacked oil-related infrastructure in Turkey in the past but there is a notable radical Islamist presence in the province. Groups including those affiliated with al-Qaeda have expressed their intention to target oil-related assets in the country in the past and pipelines have been highlighted as a particular target. While it remains difficult for militants to conduct major attacks against well-defended facilities such as refineries, unguarded overland pipelines remain more vulnerable.

 

Centre

The central region saw several attacks last week, mainly in Anbar and Diyala provinces. Countrywide, indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars) left seven people dead and 35 injured around Iraq last week – an unusually high number. The most notable incident took place in the Kadhimiyah district of Baghdad where Shi’ah worshippers were gathering to commemorate the low-level but still important death of revered figure Imam al-Kadhim. The spate of bombings which took place earlier today highlights the ongoing intent of terrorists to attack the Shi’ah community, including around sensitive religious sites, most of which are located in the central provinces.

 

South

The south of the country remains far quieter than the centre and north. Nonetheless low level incidents continue to take place, with occasional bombings and shootings, usually aimed at political figures, their homes and offices. Even the usually quiet province of Muthanna saw police defusing an explosive device on 12 June. Most of the latest incidents appear to have been aimed at intimidating political rivals. They have not led to significant casualties. Nonetheless their occurrence alone indicates that hostile threat groups still have a noticeable presence in the region, and conditions could yet worsen again if intra-organisational enmity increases.

 

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.

 

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Weekly Security Update for 6th June 2012


Conditions seemed relatively quiet in Iraq for most of last week until a co-ordinated spate of bombings hit the capital on 31 May. Otherwise, the total number of attacks recorded countrywide fell by almost half. At least 31 people were killed and 74 injured in nationwide incidents. Across the country a total of 21 bomb attacks left 21 people dead and 73 injured, although most incidents occurred in the capital and the central provinces. Small arms fire attacks were more evenly distributed countrywide, leaving seven people dead and one injured. A suicide bomber also attacked the Shi’ah al-Waqf facility in central Baghdad on Monday, killing over 20 people, although this figure is not included in the total count of last week’s casualties.

North
Levels of violence fell in the north of Iraq last week. Both Mosul and Kirkuk were particularly quiet. Among the possible reasons for this are a temporary rise in security measures in both cities. A series of police raids and arrests were implemented around both urban areas surrounding high profile visits by senior politicians. As previously warned, militants based in the area may also be refocussing their efforts elsewhere, with the possibility that some have moved further south to Anbar, Salah ad-Din and Diyala provinces. Some northern militants may also be involved in hostilities in neighbouring Syria, although this is a hypothesis which remains difficult to verify.

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

Central
The Central provinces saw a decline in violence last week although they still accounted for the bulk of the country’s attacks. Most incidents took place in the capital, mainly in a spate of bombings on 31 May. Diyala province saw a decline in violence whilst Anbar saw a rise. All parts of the region should be considered hazardous.

South
The southern provinces remained quiet last week, although a bombing in Najaf highlighted the ongoing risk of escalation. Political competitiveness continues to stoke violent attacks by militant groups aimed at intimidating their rivals. While the majority of recent incidents in the south have not involved casualties they nonetheless illustrate the ongoing presence of relatively influential armed groups in the region. Many of these groups remain hostile towards foreigners.

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.

 

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Weekly Security Update for 30th May 2012


Levels of violence fell slightly in Iraq last week. At least 43 people were killed and 125 injured in nationwide incidents. A total of 43 bomb attacks left 24 people dead and 106 injured. There were no suicide bombings recorded although a number of militants were killed whilst handling explosive devices that detonated prematurely. A rise in the number of small arms fire attacks left 16 people dead and 19 injured. There were at least four recorded indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars) but they left no casualties and only limited damage.

North
Ninawa province suffered a large proportion of the week’s attacks. The city of Mosul and some of its outlying towns saw more violence than most other parts of the country. Ta’mim province on the other hand saw a slight reduction in violence, although several suspected militants were arrested in and around Kirkuk. Militants also blew up a mobile telephone tower near the city, highlighting the ongoing security problems facing the telecommunications industry in the country. In Kurdistan the Turkish military attacked suspected PKK sites in the normally peaceful province of Dahuk, although no casualties or damage were reported.

Centre

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

There was a rise in violence in Diyala province last week which saw three times as many attacks as the previous week. Conditions were particularly hostile around Ba’qubah, although other towns such as Khalis, Jalawlah, Khan Bani Sa’ad and Muqdadiyah saw a number of additional incidents. Baghdad was relatively quiet, with few attacks, even for the duration of the UN Security Council + Germany conference on the Iranian nuclear programme. However, mortar attacks on the International/Green Zone and a bombing along the airport road highlight the fact that even areas normally considered ‘secure’ in the capital remain at risk of militant and terrorist activity.

South
The southern provinces remain quiet, although concerns are mounting over the prospect of increased tensions between local militia groups and the authorities. On 25 May three bombs detonated around mosques in the province, two in Basrah city centre and one in Zubayr. A child was injured in one of the blasts but they were more likely aimed at causing intimidation rather than casualties amongst local residents, whilst embarrassing the security forces.

 

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.

 

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Weekly Security Update for 24th May 2012


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.

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

North
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.

Central
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.

South
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.

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Weekly Security Update for 9th May 2012


There was a slight rise in the number of attacks recorded in Iraq last week but the overall number of casualties fell from the previous week. At least 26 people were killed and 62 injured in nationwide incidents. A total of 31 bomb attacks left 11 people dead and 57 injured while small arms fire left 10 people dead and five injured. One person was kidnapped in Kirkuk, while a captive woman was freed in a police operation in Umm Qasr. The bodies of several more people were found abandoned in various other parts of the country.

North
Mosul remained one of the most violent parts of the country last week. Ta’mim province saw far fewer incidents, although a mechanic was kidnapped in the province and security was heightened in Kirkuk ahead of a visit by Prime Minister Maliki. In the normally secure region of Kurdistan there were two points of note. A personal dispute between two civilians escalated into a gunfight in Arbil, which left one person dead and the other injured. The region sees very little violence, but there is a high distribution of firearms and related incidents are still relatively common. A protest also took place in Arbil on 8 May following the publication of an article by a local paper deemed offensive to Islam by many local residents. Protesters clashed with the security forces, although there were no significant casualties reported.

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

Central
Apart from Mosul, last week’s violence in Iraq was concentrated in and around Baghdad, Fallujah, Ba’qubah and Tuz Khurmatu.  Salah ad-Din province is currently seeing the majority of attacks, although conditions slightly worsened in the capital last week as well. Anbar and Diyala province remain relatively equal in terms of violence, although tensions appear to be on the rise in Diyala in particular, with local residents concerned at gradually rising militancy and localised tensions.

South
There was a spate of small bomb attacks in southern cities last week. They have not caused any casualties but appear to have been aimed at intimidating political figures rather than killing members of the security forces or civilians indiscriminately. While the region is far quieter than central and northern parts of the country it evidently still hosts violent militant organisations with the intent and means to use violence for political purposes. While casualties remain highly infrequent this recent trend does not bode well for the longer term outlook for the oil-rich region.

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.

 

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Weekly Security Update for 25th April 2012


Levels of violence rose in Iraq last week with more incidents recorded than any other week since the March 2010 election. In total, at least 84 people were killed and 206 injured in nationwide incidents – a very high figure for the country.  The vast majority of incidents took place in the central region. In total, at least 74 separate bomb attacks left 56 people dead and 193 injured. Small arms fire left 22 people dead and 13 injured – a relatively high but consistent figure for the country.

North
A hotel manager was kidnapped in Kirkuk, while a series of bombings took place in both Ta’mim and Ninawa provinces. Levels of violence were high, but consistently so. The Turkish military was also reported to have launched an assault on suspected PKK targets in the Qandil Mountains but there have been no reports of casualties or excessive damage. The Kurdish region remains quiet overall.

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months. Note the rise in attacks last week.

Centre
A spike in attacks swept the central provinces on 19 April, with seemingly co-ordinated bombings killing up to 46 people in the space of a few hours. Al-Qaeda in Iraq has since claimed responsibility for the incidents. Of the total number of countrywide attacks last week, AKE documented 74 separate bombings, which left 56 people dead and 193 injured, mostly in the central region. Of those attacks, five involved suicide bombings – an unusually high number, even for Iraq. However, while suicide attacks in the country in the past have often inflicted large numbers of casualties, the latest do not appear to have been well planned or executed (some of the bombers detonated their explosive belts because their homes had been raided by the police). At least eight people were killed (not including the bombers themselves) and 24 injured in such attacks. Indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars) were also recorded in Samarra and Tikrit but they caused no damage or casualties.

South
A series of ‘percussion’ or ‘sound’ bombs have been reported in southern cities, particularly Basrah over recent weeks, but they caused no casualties and are thought to have been aimed at intimidating political figures associated with the government or influential clerics. Regardless of the lack of casualties however, the incidents highlight ongoing tensions between rival groups in the southern region. While foreign nationals and private organisations are not being directly targeted in the attacks they should nonetheless bear in mind that several of these groups are ideologically opposed to any notion of a strong western presence in the country. If they gain power over the coming months it could pose an increasing worry for the many foreign investors looking to work in the area.

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.

 

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Weekly Security Update for 12th April 2012


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.

Tactics
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.

North

Weekly Attacks in Iraq - the last 6 months

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.

Central
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.

South
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.

 

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