On the night of 18 February, IS gunmen conducted a raid targeting a house owned by the mukhtar of Ayn al-Baydha village, located south of Mosul in the Shura sub-district. The mukhtar engaged the gunmen with small arms fire, forcing them to withdraw. His daughter was wounded. A roadside IED likely emplaced by the same gunmen subsequently detonated against a responding patrol from the 16th Iraqi Army Division. At least three soldiers were wounded as a result. IS claimed responsibility for the attack, claiming an IED detonation wounded a number of soldiers and the mukhtar of nearby Sachma village.
Official security sources refrained from commenting on this belatedly confirmed attack, underscoring persistent intent to downplay IS activity and associated reporting challenges. Raids conducted by skilled gunmen formed the hallmark of a longstanding IS murder and intimidation campaign in Nineveh province, particularly in rural environments between Mosul and Qayyarah. Attacks against mukhtars are intended to disrupt key links between local communities and security forces, in order to increase IS freedom of movement.
The tempo of IS night raids in Nineveh province has reduced considerably to an intermittent threat. The 18 February incident stands out as the first confirmed raid in the province since a raid near Hatra on 19 January, which resulted in the execution of one individual IS described as an informant. The limited effectiveness of this attack further underscores dips in IS attack capabilities despite persistent attack intent. The latest incident interestingly occurred the same evening as a set of likely coordinated attacks in Kirkuk province, including one deadly raid that killed four civilians. An ambitioned broader set of multi-provincial coordinated attacks was plausible accordingly. However, IS was unable to promote such perceptions given the limited effectiveness and scant media reporting for the Nineveh raid.
Further analysis and client considerations can be read in our full report.