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Coordinated IED attacks in Kirkuk City amongst most significant attacks during Ramadan

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Between 21:00 and 21:50 on 30 May, coordinated IED attacks involving the detonation of six devices were reported in different commercial areas of Kirkuk City. The Security Media Cell also cited the clearance of two additional devices. Casualty reporting was conflicting, with between 3-5 individuals assessed to have been killed, and at least 20 others wounded. These coordinated attacks occurred during vibrant evening hours associated with Ramadan. Surveillance footage later depicted individuals travelling in an SUV emplacing one of the devices in a bag along the road.

The 30 May coordinated IED attacks comprise the most significant high-impact attack in Kirkuk City thus far in 2019. These events are also assessed to form the most significant attack affecting a major urban center in Iraq during Ramadan as the holy month nears its conclusion. Other attempted mass-casualty casualty attacks in urban environments centered on the traditional employment of vehicle borne IEDs, with three incidents including two detonations were reported in Nineveh and Anbar between 23-27 May. In the most effective attack, at least five individuals were killed by a vehicle borne IED detonation near Tal Afar.

As opposed to these classic forms of mass-casualty attacks, most of the deadliest attacks in Ramadan up to this point involved insurgent activity in active rural environments of the Northern Region including southern Kirkuk Province. Significant security responses are anticipated, with increased operations likely within the city and external IS staging grounds. Going forward, the 30 May coordinated attacks will serve as a baseline for the upper end of current IS attack capabilities in Kirkuk City. Similar attacks are possible in the future, but often require lengthy refit periods.

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