On the morning of 5 November, according to the Security Media Cell and other sources, IS conducted a dual IED attack along the road between Abbarah town and Zuhra village, northeast of Baqubah city. At approximately 07:40, the first IED detonated against a tuk-tuk cargo-tricycle, killing four civilians including three females. Conflicting reports cited three civilian fatalities. A second IED emplaced nearby detonated against a responding police patrol, killing one policeman and wounding three others.
IS-affiliated Amaq News Agency deceptively claimed that IS fighters detonated an IED against PMF members in the area, killing two members and wounding two others. A second IED detonated against a responding police patrol, killing two members and wounding two others.
With as many as five fatalities, this incident closely follows a similarly lethal complex IED attack in a suburb of Muqdadiyah city a week prior. On 27 October, IS executed a herdsman in an agricultural area near Khailaniyah village and booby-trapped the body. The IED detonated against responding relatives, killing 3-4 civilians including a local tribal leader, and wounding two others. The lethality of both incidents was rooted in the vulnerable nature of the affected civilians, with the results generating significant headlines accordingly.
While civilians comprised the bulk of casualties these incidents, IS attack intent was not assessed to be entirely indiscriminate. The latest incident perpetuated a recently initiated intermittent series of attacks involving IS intent to lure security forces to IEDs. On 23 October, IS apparently baited ISF to a booby-trapped structure near Muqdadiyah city, with two soldiers wounded during the resulting detonation. For the 27 October attack, an IS statement indicated intent to use the booby-trapped body to target responding security personnel. IS intent to facilitate an IED attack against ISF was readably apparent for the 5 November incident, but the organization demonstrated complete disregard for the civilians who targeted in the initial detonation.
At the local level, IED activity has been commonly noted in the Abbarah sub-district, with three IED detonations between 15-20 October. Each of the attacks affected farmers in agricultural lands, killing two and wounding one other. IS questionably attempted to justify such activity by describing the targets as Tribal PMF members, with a debatable grey area in effect for armed local citizens. On 21 October, ISF killed two insurgents during an ambush in the sub-district, seizing light weapons and IED materials in a noteworthy security success. However, the 5 November incident represented a timely illustration of the resiliency of IS cells active in the Abbarah area.
For further discussion and analysis please see the full report.