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IS militants assassinate two local stakeholders during coordinated attacks in Nineveh Province

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Late on the night of 22 June, IS gunmen infiltrated Tuffaha Village, located in a rural area of Tal Abta Sub-District in southwestern Mosul District. The gunmen shot and killed the mukhtar of the village. ISF and local Sunni PMF responded and clashed with the perpetrators, who fled towards the Jazeera Desert. IS claimed responsibility for the attack, identifying the target as a Hashd al-Ashairi member, which is not uncommon for local mukhtars. Hours later at 01:00 on 23 June, IS gunmen infiltrated Khazraja Village in Baaj District, western Nineveh Province. The gunmen shot and killed Shaykh Farhan Shalal al-Ka’it, a prominent tribal leader from Shammar Tribe, and subsequently fled towards the Jazeera Desert.

These attacks form the latest examples of an established IS murder and intimidation campaign in Nineveh Province. Although alterations in tactics have been noted, the hallmark remains occasional night raids in vulnerable rural villages targeting individuals with government and security affiliations. Attacks against these key local stakeholders are intended to disrupt support for security forces in an attempt to improve IS freedom of movement over the long-term. The 22-23 June attacks demonstrate current IS capability to conduct coordinated night raids against vulnerable population minor population centers accessible from resilient IS infiltration routes extending across the porous Jazeera Desert.

As the arson campaign launched in May and June incrementally subsides, the organization will undoubtedly increasingly promote more common forms of activity in the province. As opposed to isolated attacks, coordinated attacks along these lines are intended to amplify the media attention afforded to such incidents. Suburbs of Qayyarah continue to be the most regularly affected by night raids, though other concentrations have been noted in suburbs of Mosul and Baaj. The rural locations and evening attack timings for most incidents reduce peripheral risks to client operations in relevant areas. However, the potential for exposure to IEDs seeded by militants during such attacks is also a consideration.

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