Late on 9 July, suspected IS gunmen abducted and subsequently killed the Hawli Village Mukhtar in Mahmudiyah District, located southwest of Baghdad. The following morning, on 10 July, ISF recovered the body near the mukhtar’s house in the area mentioned above. As indicated, this attack is indicative of an established IS murder and intimidation campaign. The majority of incidents occur during the late evening of early morning hours and target rural areas vulnerable to IS facilitation routes and staging areas.
However, such activity is currently seldom reported in areas south of Baghdad, with the bulk of attacks reported in eastern Anbar Province, the northern Baghdad Belt and active environments in the Northern Region. This latest incident illustrates a notable shift from previous targeting trends and the enduring flexibility of IS attack planning. It also demonstrates current IS capability to conduct effective raids in the southern Baghdad Belt and provides a key indicator of the organization’s nascent revitalization in this historically active sector. Such indicators were previously underlined on the afternoon of 26 June, when an IED detonated against an ISF patrol in the Albu Aytha area of Dora, located south of Baghdad. Two ISF members were wounded as a result.