At approximately 13:10 on 14 October, Falcons Intelligence Cell personnel supported by other ISF and PMF units, targeted an IS position during an intelligence-drive operation in the Umm Ruways area, located in a rural area between Samarra and Balad. An exchange of small arms fire ensued for approximately 30 minutes. ISF killed two insurgents said to be armed with light weapons, explosive belts, and four IEDs. No ISF casualties were reported.
The Samarra Operations Command and Falcons Intelligence Cell praised the deaths of two suicide bombers who were planning to target pilgrims during Arba’een. Based on established patterns, the insurgents more likely possessed explosive belts as a weapon of last resort as opposed to preparations to conduct deliberate suicide attacks. That said, this small security success is certainly noteworthy. Insurgents commonly conduct small-scale attacks against civilians and security personnel in relevant suburbs of Samarra and Balad. Security responses continue to play a key role moderating IS activity levels. It is very plausible that the 14 October operation resulted in the neutralization of an IS cell specializing in roadside IED attacks, which is certainly welcomed during the Arba’een period.