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PMF repel IS attack against PMF office in outskirt of Khanaqin City

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At 22:40 on 11 February, IS militants armed with light weapons attacked a PMF office in Imam Abbas neighborhood, located along the western outskirts of Khanaqin City. The attack was repelled, with one insurgent armed with an explosive vest killed. One other insurgent was reportedly wounded as the militants broke contact. Various PMF sources praised the disruption of a suicide attack, claiming 1-2 attackers were killed including one armed with an explosive vest, eight hand grenades, and mortar rounds in an abnormality. The gunmen reportedly included some foreign fighters. PMF subsequently heightened security postures in the area.

Although certainly plausible, it is difficult to confidently judge if a complex suicide attack was intended given the established practice of IS gunmen also wearing explosive vests to avoid capture if wounded during attacks. The bulk of incidents involving explosive vests in Diyala involve insurgents encountered during security operations, with deliberate suicide attacks becoming very rare following the conclusion of major anti-IS operations in late 2017. More important than this tactical component, the attacks between 10-11 February illustrate continued significant IS freedom of movement in Khanaqin District and the skilled nature of associated militants.

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