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Coordinated IED attacks in Kirkuk city result in moderate casualties

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On the evening of 8 September, three IED detonations and one IED find were reported in Kirkuk city. At approximately 15:40, an IED emplaced inside a garbage bin detonated near Rasul al-Adham Shia Mosque in the June First neighborhood. No casualties were reported. At approximately 18:30, an IED detonated against a Husseini procession near the Kirkuk Youth Centre in the same neighborhood. Between 3-5 civilians were wounded. At approximately 19:30, an IED detonated near Noor Mosque in the Muallimin neighborhood. At least three civilians were wounded. Kirkuk Health Director Dr. Kareem Wali later confirmed that nine individuals were wounded, with one of the civilians from the detonation near the Kirkuk Youth Centre succumbing to his wounds in a hospital.

IS has repeatedly demonstrated the capability to conduct well-planned coordinated IED attacks in historical active but recently dormant major population centers. Reductions in IS capability to conduct mass-casualty attacks involving vehicle borne IEDs and other sophisticated assets is assessed to have encouraged less resource-intensive approaches. The 30 May coordinated attacks in Kirkuk city killed between 3-5 individuals and wounded at least 20 others. That incident arguably formed one of the most significant attacks in a major population center during Ramadan. Accordingly, attacks along these lines were previously assessed to be likely during the Muharram holy month. The 8 September attacks in Kirkuk closely followed another set of coordinated attacks in Baghdad city on the night of 7 September.

Both attacks were well-timed occurring just prior to the mainstay of Ashura observances between 9-10 September, and the most intense security measures in effect on those dates. It is worth noting that the one-day separation between the two sets of attacks precluded a golden opportunity for IS to promote coordinated IED attacks in two major cities on the same night. The moderate casualties inflicted, with only one confirmed fatality during the two coordinated attacks, also underscores continued shortfalls in relevant attack capabilities compared to historic norms. Nevertheless, the events in Baghdad and Kirkuk between 7-8 September will likely register as one of the most significant attacks associated with Ashura.

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