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Spike in IED activity in northern and western Iraq as IS responds to losses in Syria

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Between 9-10 April, a spike in IED activity represented by as many as 11 IED detonations was reported in active environments of the Northern Region. Attack effectiveness varied, though at least six security personnel and civilians were killed, and over a dozen others were wounded in total. IED activity levels may remain elevated over the near-term.

At around 13:00 on 10 April, what was likely a suicide vehicle borne IED targeted a Badr Organization PMF vehicle travelling on Highway 1 in Asmida area, located north of Baiji in Salah ad Din Province. The apparent primary target was Kadhum al-Zamili, Badr Organization’s public relations officer for Nineveh. The armored PMF vehicle sustained minor damage, but no PMF casualties were reported. Three civilian bystanders were reportedly wounded. This incident is the first vehicle borne IED attack in the Northern Region since a spike in activity Nineveh Province between mid-February and early March.

According to the Security Media Cell and other credible security sources, three explosive events were reported in diverse areas of Al Qaim, though casualties were limited to three wounded. IS immediately claimed responsibility, announcing that IS militants conducted several attacks in diverse areas of Anbar Province under “Operation Revenge for the Loss of Syria.” It is suspected that many of the above attacks in northern and western Iraq were coordinated under this operation.

As regularly discussed, detracting from the recent loss of the last IS core terrain in eastern Syria remains a priority as IS seeks to demonstrate its long-term viability as an insurgent organization. Although not extremely effective in terms of casualties, the attacks noted between 9-10 April serve as an important illustration of the upper end of current IS attack capabilities. It is unclear if IS plans to promote continued escalations in activity levels following this spike in attacks, with expected significant security responses also a mitigating factor. For client operations, the primary consideration remains the threat of inadvertent exposure based on operating environment.

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