On the late evening of 3 June, an IED detonated against a convoy comprising five vehicles of 59th Brigade, 6th Iraqi Army Division on Yabis Project Road in the Mushahada area of Tarmiyah District, located north of Baghdad. One ISF member was killed and three others were wounded as a result. Subsequently, IS militants targeted ISF with small arms fire while they attempted to evacuate the wounded, killing four security members and wounding six others. In response to this incident, in the early hours of 4 June, ISF supported by Iraqi Army Aviation aircraft conducted a counter-IS operation in the area and allegedly killed three IS militants according to the Security Media Cell.
IS immediately claimed responsibility for this attack under the moniker “Battle of Attrition”, citing that as many as 35 ISF personnel were either killed or wounded and a vehicle was destroyed. The cited casualty figure in this instance is not highly inflated, though it refrains from mentioning specific counts for fatalities in an established approach to increase the perceived effectiveness of this attack.
This incident forms the deadliest attack reported in Tarmiyah District thus far in 2019. The timing of this attack coincided with the interdiction of four IS insurgents wearing suicide vests and transporting a number of IEDs in diverse areas of Anbar Province. These likely coordinated incidents occurred at the onset of Eid al-Fitr and conforms with an elevated IS attack intent during this period. The previously reported interdiction of a vehicle borne IED west of Baghdad on 27 May underlined this enduring intent.
Tarmiyah and adjacent Taji District host a historically prominent IS safe haven, extending from eastern Anbar Province and towards hotspot areas in southern Salah ad Din Province. Despite continues clearance operations and a notable reduction in IS related activity compared to historical norms, this attack serves as another example of the resiliency of the organization and its capability to conduct highly effective attacks indicative of detailed attack planning on a periodic basis.