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Premature IED detonation kills one IS insurgent in western Anbar

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Late on 7 April, an IS insurgent was killed while emplacing an IED near the Fahimi Bridge, located near Sakra Town in eastern Anah District. This information likely contributed to initial reports of an interdiction of an IS suicide operative who detonated near a security checkpoint. In response to the detonation, units of the 28th Brigade, 7th Iraqi Army Division deployed to the affected area and another IED detonated against an ISF patrol vehicle, wounding one ISF member. It is somewhat possible that the deceased IS insurgent was responsible for seeding this effective IED, prior to the inadvertent detonation of the other device.

The frequency of IED activity in Anbar Province is difficult to confirm due to a large proportion of incidents believed to involve legacy devices, and reporting challenges involving unconfirmed IS claims of responsibility. The next most recent effective IED detonation assessed to involve a recently emplaced device was reported near Lake Tharthar on 23 February, when as many as four ISF members were wounded by an IED detonation affecting their vehicle as security forces responded to an effective IS attack against a group of fishermen. At the very least, this report confirms the occurrence of IS IED activity in rural areas of Anbar, while also highlighting a low proficiency in such tactics given the premature detonation and limited effects against responding ISF.

Other IS activity in this area was recently highlighted by several headlining abductions of individuals collecting truffles between 28 January and 15 February. In response, ISF conducted several clearance operations in rural areas surrounding the Haditha Lake and other isolated locations connecting Al Qaim and Haditha. Although limited in nature, this latest event highlights the limitations of ground clearance operations in mitigating IS operations in Anbar Province.

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