There was growing evidence this week that in the face of mounting pressure from Sunni insurgents that Shia militias continue to mobilise and attack Sunni interests in both Iraq and Syria. On Saturday 12 Oct a large VBIED detonated in a Sunni neighbourhood of the city of Samarra killing at least 14 and wounding 40 people, mainly families shopping and passing time in one of the cities markets. Reports suggest that the attack was most likely Sunni islamist insurgents however there is much more Shia militia activity being seen and we could be witnessing the start of a more developed and emboldened campaign of revenge attacks against the Sunni community.
As the violence continued over the week it ranged across the country. Sunday 13 October saw a series of large – 16 in total - bombs kill over 25 people, the largest of which was in the town of Hilla in southern Iraq.
In Kut, 160 km southeast of Baghdad, four car bombs exploded separately, one of them near a primary school and another close to a restaurant, killing at least two people and wounding 31 and a roadside bomb exploded near a soccer pitch where boys and young men were playing a match in Madaen, 30 km southeast of Baghdad, killing 4 players.
Later in the day Samarra came under attack once again as three suicide bombers clashed with policemen before detonating their vests, killing themselves and four others. The reporting period ended with an attack in Kirkuk, which killed 8 Sunni worshippers who were attending the first prayer of the Muslim feast of Sacrifice – Eid-al-Adha. As Iraqis go into the holiday period it is likely that we will see an uptick in insurgent activity as the gathering of communities to celebrate and worship presents large opportune targets