Weekly Security Update 09 - 16 July 2013

On the domestic front Iraqis bore the brunt of an intensified bombing campaign designed to coincide with the start of Ramadan, a period where traditionally people congregate and extend friendship during itfar and which has also provided a convenient focal point for attacks across the country.

Thursday 11 July saw a number of sophisticated attacks take place in the western and northern provinces surrounding Baghdad.  One person was killed and 28 wounded when a parked car bomb exploded near the courthouse in central Tuz Khurmato, 170 km north of Baghdad and two suicide bombers attacked a police station in western Iraq, killing at least five policemen.  The first bomber opened fire on a checkpoint as he approached the police station, shooting two dead before entering the building and blowing himself up, killing a further three.  A second assailant drove a car packed with explosives into the same police station in the city of Ramadi, 100 km west of Baghdad.

Toward the end of the week the violence continued especially in the districts to the north of the capital, with many killed and wounded in multiple bombings and shootings.

Bombers and gunmen attacked policemen and a funeral wake, among other targets, killing at least 44 people across the northern belt.   Gunmen opened fire on two checkpoints guarding oil installations on the road between Haditha and Baiji, 180 km north of the capital, killing 11 people and in the town of Muqdadiya, 80 km northeast of Baghdad, a further 11 people were killed when a car bomb exploded at a wake. As survivors gathered to evacuate the wounded, a suicide bomber detonated their device targeting emergency responders and samaritans who were assisting in moving the wounded from the earlier explosions.

On Friday 12 July most major urban centres in the central and northern belts experienced some form of violence in what appears to have been a loosely coordinated series of attacks that claimed the lives of nearly 76 people.

Earlier in the day, seven policemen were killed in attacks in the western province of Anbar; in Baghdad, a car bomb killed four people; three roadside bombs targeted police patrols in the city of Tikrit, killing three policemen and in the northern city of Mosul three suicide car bombs targeted checkpoints killing four policemen.  Late in the day around 60 km southwest of the ethnically mixed city of Kirkuk, gunmen attacked a checkpoint, killing three members of the government-backed Sahwa Sunni militia whilst in Kirkuk itself, a roadside bomb killed a fourth Sahwa member.

Saturday 13 July saw a continuation of the violence with approximately 60 people killed countrywide.  Kirkuk once again came under sustained pressure as a bomb attack on a teahouse killed at least 31 people in an attack that specifically targeted people who had gathered to break the fast.

In a similar type of attack two bombs exploded near Sunni mosques in the Iraqi capital killing at least 23 people who had gathered to pray after also breaking their daily fast.  A car packed with explosives went off near the Mulla Hwesh mosque in Baghdad's western district of Jamia, killing at least seven people, and a subsequent further attack saw a suicide bomber blow himself up in the southern Doura neighborhood, leaving 16 dead.

Elsewhere on Saturday near Baquba, about 50 km northeast of Baghdad, four policemen were killed when they fired upon a suspected suicide bomber driving a car packed with explosives, which consequently detonated.  Police said the bomber's target was a funeral tent nearby.  A fifth policeman was killed when a bomb exploded near his patrol in Madaen, a town 30 km (20 miles) southeast of Baghdad.

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