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IED detonation south of Mosul kills two relatives of a local mukhtar

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At approximately 22:15 on 29 August, a roadside IED detonated against a civilian vehicle near Shura al-Jadida village, located south of Mosul near Shura town. The detonation killed the son of the village mukhtar and a relative. It is very possible that the mukhtar formed the intended target in this well-executed attack. Some reports suggested the targeted individuals also had PMF affiliations, with mukhtars and their relatives often involved with local militias.

Attacks targeting individuals with government and security affiliations are intended to degrade the effectiveness of security operations, and increase IS freedom of movement. Night raids conducted by skilled gunmen form the hallmark of a longstanding murder and intimidation campaign in Nineveh province. The next most recent raid on 1 August resulted in the deaths of three individuals with security affiliations in an area of western Shura sub-district. Alterations in tactics involving IEDs are not unprecedented, with a tribal leader killed by an IED attack in another village of Shura sub-district on 10 April. These tactical alterations reflect flexible IS responses to dynamic operational conditions.

The 29 August IED attack was preceded by an IED attack the night prior against 16th Iraqi Army Division personnel travelling in a vehicle in the Tal Abta sub-district, located west of Highway 1. As a result, two soldiers were wounded. To recall, that incident formed the first confirmed IED attack in Nineveh province since the first phase of Operation Will of Victory in early July. Further south, on the morning of 27 August, another IED attack targeted a civilian vehicle in an area between Qayyarah and Shirqat. No casualties were confirmed. Other recent noteworthy activity in relevant environments along the Tigris River Valley involved a rocket attack in central Shirqat on 22 August, and a mortar attack in western Shura sub-district on 23 August.

Overall, IS militants likely based in the porous Jazeera Desert are demonstrating intent to regain momentum in a historically active sector of the Tigris River Valley in southern Nineveh and northern Salah ad Din provinces. There is a clear potential for additional indirect fire and IED attacks in suburbs of Shura, Qayyarah, and Shirqat over the near-term.

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