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IED targets Private Security Company convoy south of Baghdad

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On the evening of 10 February, an IED detonated against a convoy traveling on Highway 1 in the Adwaniyah area of Yusufiyah sub-district, south of Baghdad. Reports identified the target as a PSC logistics convoy supporting US forces, though further clarification was initially limited. One vehicle was damaged, but no casualties were sustained.

The Security Media Cell confirmed the incident, claiming that members of an unnamed armed group traveling in a vehicle, threw a package containing an IED against a PSC convoy traveling on the international highway near Adwaniyah. They added that the detonation set fire to one of the vehicles, but no casualties resulted. More realistically than throwing an IED, it is likely that this incident involved a remotely detonated device emplaced well before the arrival of the targeted convoy.

Location of IED strike

This incident occurred amongst an uptick in IED activity in and around Baghdad attributed to IS. However, the characteristics of this incident were more consistent with perpetration by Iranian proxies. Lebanese pro-Iranian TV channel al-Mayadeen reported that the IED attack targeted a convoy transporting military equipment to a base hosting US forces south of Baghdad. Unconfirmed reports from media sources claimed the convoy originated from Basra province, and that Kata’ib Hezbollah is active in the area affected by the attack. US government sources and the targeted PSC refrained from commenting on the attack.

Intermittent IED activity signals vulnerability of US logistical support:
The 10 February attack closely follows a warning issued by the US Embassy in Baghdad the same day concerning the potential for demonstrations expected in Baghdad between 11-13 February and in Najaf on 14 February. While not specified, that warning was assessed to have been related to the end of the traditional Shi’a 40-day mourning period, following the assassination of Qassem Sulaimani and Abu Mahdi al-Muhanids by the US airstrike in Baghdad on 3 January. Although no significant demonstrations formed in the capital as of 11 February, it is very possible that the timing of the IED attack was influenced by associated considerations as discussed in detail in our full report. 

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