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Several casualties from vehicle borne IED detonation at checkpoint on Highway 1 near Tikrit

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At around 14:45 on 8 January, a suicide vehicle borne IED detonation was reported at Aqwas Checkpoint, located north of Tikrit City along Highway 1. A Ministry of Defense statement claimed that a suicide bomber was forced to detonate a device based on a pickup truck while being inspected. Two police officers were killed, and six individuals were wounded including two soldiers, a police officer, and two civilians according to medical sources. Security sources identified the fatalities as civilians in a disparity, with additional refinements possible.

Some clarification is required for general classification of this incident as a suicide attack. Of 17 vehicle borne IED detonations on a national basis since 29 August, only three involved confirmed suicide initiation. Significantly, each of these involved assessed detonations under duress at checkpoints. Although the originally intended target is unclear, current patterns promote the likelihood that the operative in the 8 January incident intended to emplace the device within Tikrit City for a non-suicide attack.

Although the 8 January detonation resulted in a number of casualties, this assessed detonation under duress at a checkpoint likely prevented greater casualties from occurring during an intended attack within the city. This incident reflected well on the performance of security forces during routine operations, particularly given a relatively high proportion of detonations to finds at present. Including the latest event, six vehicle borne IED detonations were reported nationally since November. Just three devices were classified as fully interdicted during the same period, with one of these events somewhat questionable.

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