There was no significant increase or decrease in the number of attacks recorded in Iraq last week but the fatality figure doubled from the previous week. At least 101 people were killed and 216 injured in nationwide incidents. Conditions appear to have worsened since the US military pullout at the end of 2011 and the situation does not bode well for the coming months.
A total of 30 bomb attacks left 41 people dead and 136 injured last week. An additional suicide bombing in Za’faraniyah district in Baghdad left at least 32 people dead and 71 injured while over the last few days a second suicide bombing has hit Diyala province. The number of small arms attacks has been high over the past fortnight and last week the tactic left 27 people dead and eight injured. There was a relatively low number of indirect fire attacks (rockets and mortars), with one person injured by the tactic. There were no reported kidnappings.
Violence was concentrated in Baghdad, the central provinces, Kirkuk and Mosul. There was also a spike in violence in the towns of Tuz Khurmatu (Salah ad-Din province) and Ba’qubah (Diyala province). Conditions worsened in the capital, while there was a slight reduction in violence in the north of the country. The Kurdish region remained quiet, as did the south of the country, although a number of unknown blasts were reported in Basrah.
Recent days have seen a rise in the number of sticky bombs reported in the country. Sticky bombs are also known as Under Vehicle Improvised Explosive Devices (UVIEDs). They are usually magnetic in nature and are affixed to a target vehicle before being detonated – usually by remote control. A rise in the tactic was also reported in spring 2011, as outlined in this Iraq Business News Article. UVIEDs are normally used to kill a specifically targeted individual, such as a ministry employee or senior member of the Iraqi security forces. Personnel should inspect their vehicles before and after every journey, even minor ones, if they are in unsecure parts of the country. Look out for any suspicious devices around the underside of the vehicle as you approach it, and be aware of your surroundings. Most of the devices are detonated by remote control by an operator who is situated within eyesight.
John Drake is a senior risk consultant with AKE, a British private security firm 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.
AKE has updated its security, travel and political risk guidance on the country on the website Global Intake. For further details or to purchase access to the report please visit the site here.