There has been a steady level of activity in the Northern regions this week with a similar pattern evolving to previous weeks, however there was a decreased tempo in Turkish military activity on the Northern Iraqi Kurdistan border. The overwhelming majority of incidences have occurred in or in the vicinity of major population areas such as Mosul, Kirkuk, and the urban centres straddling the Tigris River Valley. Attacks were predominantly against civilian targets, but there were also a number of significant attacks involving prominent tribal leaders and the ISF, the most recent being the 11 February Suicide VBIED attack against a military check point in Muthana East, outside Mosul, and the assassination of a tribal elder in Diyala. There is also a sustained interest in attacking key infrastructure points belonging to foreign companies and GOI (Aciacell Telecommunications infrastructure being one example).
Incidents in Salah Ad Din remained sporadic with more of a focus on attacks against ISF and GOI. This activity corresponds to the on going Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) insurgent activity and that the ISF have increased their operational tempo against ISI insurgents. Of particular note was the first public arrest of an Iraqi national purported to be a Commander in the Free Syria Army and who was reported to be directly engaged in influencing Sunni anti-government activities in the province. In line with this first publicly acknowledged arrest it would be prudent to not underestimate the potential threat posed by foreign and domestic fighters returning from Syria regardless of how little public acknowledgement there is of the associated risk.