The below is a summary and discussion of recent developments throughout the region. Information is garnered from a variety of sources and has been vetted whenever possible. Please note: Friday and Saturday reporting is reduced at regional levels.
Note: For above mapping, please scroll over individual spots to see further details. Due to developments outside of Talos control, some map features are temporarily unavailable.
- Five civilians found murdered north of Ramadi
- IED factory discovered during operation west of Baghdad
On 13 September, security forces found the bodies of a family of five members bearing gunshot wounds in the Jazzerat Albu Diab area, north of Ramadi. Security forces imposed a curfew in the area. Initial reporting indicated the murders were criminally motivated and and did not involve terrorist intent, with additional confirmation of motivating factors necessary.
These events follow another deadly incident in a suburb east of Ramadi on 4 September. Unnamed sources claimed gunmen raided a house in the Juwaybah area, killing a family of seven people. However, the Anbar Police Command denied the deaths were caused by an attack event, claiming the family members died due to a fire caused by an electricity fault. Later reporting confirmed a large weapons cache was discovered in the building.
The highly lethal nature of the 13 September shooting has renewed interest into the conflicting circumstances surrounding the 4 September incident. It will be important to monitor additional reporting pertaining to the likely perpetrating organization and motivations behind the 13 September shooting for additional insight.
Multiple arrests were reported in suburbs of Ramadi. On 13 September, 8th Iraqi Army Division units arrested two wanted individuals at the 18 Kilo Camp. Additional reporting indicated one arrest occurred at the camp the night prior on terrorism charges. On 13 September, an element of the 10th Iraqi Army Division arrested two wanted individuals in the Albu Ali Jasim area, north Ramadi, with weapons and ammunition found in their possession. Meanwhile, another element of the 10th Iraqi Army Division arrested two wanted individuals in the Jiser al-Sadiqiyah area of Jazzerat al-Khalidiyah.
In western Anbar, on 12 September, unofficially reported Iraqi Air Force airstrikes destroyed a number of IS weapons storage facilities in Al Qaim and Anah. No Coalition strikes were reported during this period. On 13 September, an unnamed source reported the Anbar Police Special Tactics Battalion was deployed to an unspecified area to stage for the liberation of Akashat and Al Qaim. Although this report is unconfirmed, it is worth noting that this unit is very capable, and is expected to play a key role in future operations in conjunction with Counter-Terrorism Service elements.
On 12 September, the Baghdad Operations Command announced that security forces conducted a search and raid operation in the Mahasna and Arasan areas, located west of Baghdad near the Anbar provincial border. Security forces reportedly found a factory used to manufacture IEDs and booby-trap vehicles that contained 175 IEDs, 17 containers used for booby-trapping vehicles, a number of detonators, fuses, 60kg of ammonium nitrate, two destroyed Humvees, and two IEDs that were cleared.
Although no arrests were reported, this incident forms a noteworthy security success. In conjunction with more routine cache finds in historic IS support zones located in the Baghdad Belt, such operations play an important role in moderating overall IS IED capabilities in the Baghdad security environment.
On 13 September, the Iraq Civil Aviation Authority Director, Fadil Kadi’ Baden, stated air traffic controllers have resumed work following the 12 September strike. Various reports indicate an agreement was reached with the Ministry of Transport, with their salary-based demands referred to Prime Minister Haidar al-‘Abadi. As such, no flight disruptions were reported at the Baghdad or Basra airports during this period. The potential for additional breakdowns remains a consideration for the future.
Three shootings in and around Baghdad during this period resulted in the death of three individuals, including one security forces member killed by sniper fire at a checkpoint in an area north of Tarmiyah. In another incident on 12 September, armed men shot and killed a civilian guard during an attempted vehicle theft at a garage in the Nuayriya area of New Baghdad. Three IED detonations killed at least one individual and wounded several others, including two members of a security forces patrol in Sadr al-Yusufiyah.
On 11 September, the Iraqi High Tribunal Council announced that Baghdad is the worst province in Iraq for human trafficking, representing 50% of the national average. 200 instances of human trafficking were reported in Iraq in 2016, with 91 of these involving male victims, and most of these children. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi reportedly met with security leaders to discuss this issue and improve the cooperation of security responses.