Central Iraq (Baghdad and Anbar)
Baghdad reported a total of 38 incidents this week, a slight increase on last week’s figure but still approximately on par with the current weekly average. This is a relative reduction compared to the second half of December and is in line with longer term weekly trends for the capital, suggesting that the tempo of heightened violence has slowed. As is usual, reporting across the capital reflected a broad spectrum of activity-types – with criminal and domestic or tribal incidents constituting a significant proportion of the total. However just under half of all incidents targeted ISF or other government employees, either in standoff hit and run style attacks or targeted assassinations, which most likely reflect the activities of either Sunni Arab insurgents or political factions. Of particular note there was a return to the targeting of mid to senior level government and military personnel this week, which is a common feature of reporting in the capital. On 10 January a vehicle-bomb detonated outside a photography studio in the Huriya area of northwest Baghdad. Media reports suggested that three civilians had been killed and a further eleven wounded, however Iraqi citizens local to the area reported higher casualty figures.
Anbar reported a total of 11 incidents this week, which is a significant reduction from last week’s high figure and a return to more regular levels of reporting, with the total being on par with the current weekly average. Furthermore the type and distribution of violent incident mirrors patterns seen over the previous twelve months. Aside from a single shooting incident each in Annah and Damlouk (near the Syrian border) the majority of incidents were concentrated in Fallujah area, with four attacks targeted against ISF, including an indirect-fire impact within a military HQ just north of the city. Further west in Ramadi, another indirect-fire impact targeted the Anbar Operations Command location. Demonstrations continued for the third week with the areas of Albu Faraj, just north of Ramadi, and Fallujah city being the main focal points.