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Police colonel and up to 9 others killed during complex IS attack north of Tikrit

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On the evening of 21 November, multiple security sources reported that IS militants conducted a complex attack in the Baiji district of Salah ad Din, with at least ten casualties resulting. The Security Media Cell reported that an IED detonated against a civilian Toyota vehicle on the Zuwiyah – Musahhak Road north of Tikrit, wounding three members of a family traveling in the vehicle. In response, a security force was dispatched from the Musahhak Police Station, and a PMF detachment was sent to evacuate the wounded.

The responding security elements were subsequently targeted with sustained IS sniper fire. The security forces returned fire using small and medium arms with the ensuing clashes resulting in the death of as many as four PMF and two police personnel. The militants subsequently withdrew towards the mountain areas of Makhul with local sources reporting that Iraqi aircraft conducted airstrikes in the area late into the night.

One of those killed was noted as a Colonel currently serving as the police commissioner for the Musahhak Police Station. The Musahhak Sub-district Director Mohammed Zidan, initially confirmed three police members were killed, including the Musahhak Police Chief Colonel, while eight others were wounded. On 22 November, the Baiji mayor, Mohammad al-Jobouri, stated that the number of fatalities had risen to 10 after a civilian succumbed to his wounds overnight. The mayor also confirmed that a further eight individuals were wounded in the attack.

The Baiji district has endured frequent IS attacks with over 50 incidents recorded since the beginning of the year. The 21 November attack is however the deadliest on record and the most significant event since an IED strike on 30 June, resulted in the death of five PMF personnel. It is worth noting that complex attacks involving follow-up engagements after an IED blast are uncommon in Baiji though similar complex attacks have been recorded in the south of the province. It is initially assessed to represent an outlier as opposed to signalling the emergence of a more lethal approach to IED employment practices.

For further discussion and analysis please see the full report.

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