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IS conducts another mortar attack near Daquq, with no casualties reported

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On the night of 25 July, IS militants fired seven mortar rounds impacting in and around Tubzawa Village, located southwest of Daquq in southern Kirkuk Province. Other reports cited the employment of 10 mortar rounds. No casualties were reported. Some homes sustained damage during the attack against this Kakai Kurdish population center. Limited reporting from local sources claimed the indirect fire attack was followed by a direct fire attack, with villagers clashing with a small group of insurgents for approximately 20 minutes. No casualties were reported, with further confirmation required.

This incident closely follows another mortar attack the night prior affecting Dara Agha Village, located south of Daquq Town. One civilian was killed, and three others were wounded as a result. To recall, this mortar attack was closely followed by a deadly checkpoint incident that killed at least seven individuals. Indirect fire activity tends to form an intermittent threat in active environments of Kirkuk Province. Two attacks were reported in June. Activity in July was initially limited to the discovery of an improvised rocket near Daquq on 8 July and the 24 July attack discussed above. The close timing of the 25 July attack was likely intended to exploit the attention afforded to the unfortunate events that occurred the day prior.

Also notable were the large salvo sizes involved in the attacks. At least 4-6 rounds were employed during the 24 July attack, though it is somewhat unclear if this included multiple rounds that failed to detonate. The approximate 5-10 rounds employed during the 24 and 25 July attacks, as well as the five rounds employed during the next most recent attack on 27 June, markedly exceeds the 2-4 rounds typically employed during previous attacks in Kirkuk Province in recent months.

Shifts to large salvo sizes were previously highlighted in Diyala, with as many as 13 mortar rounds employed during an attack against an Iraqi Army headquarters near Baqubah on 22 May. Salvo sizes varied in the aftermath, with most attacks involving two mortar rounds or rockets. However, the latest attack on 21 July near Jalawla involved as many as seven mortar rounds. Although most indirect fire attacks tend to result in moderate casualties, attacks involving large salvo sizes increase the potential for much-desired media attention. In broader terms, IS continues to prioritize fewer numbers of resource-intensive attacks in an attempt to maximize the impact of individual attacks.

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