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Southern Regional Report 6 September

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September 06, 2017  

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.

  1. Tribal violence in northern Wasit
  2. Grenade attack against cleric’s home in Najaf denied by police
  3. Air traffic controllers hold strike in Basra

Regional Developments:
The heads of the provincial security services have all announced the successful completion of their respective ‘Eid al-Adha security plans, with no significant IS-related attack events reported within the southern province.

All provincial governments in southern Iraq have announced Sunday 10 September will be a public holiday on the occasion of ‘Eid al-Ghadir. The only stated exceptions will be for those security forces and departments engaged in the security plan for the commemoration, and those involved in final exams.

Basra:
On 5 September, the mayor of Abu al-Khasib, Ismail al-Amiri, stated that the local administration, the Police and Basra Operations Command, will continue the operation to remove illegal properties in the area after the ‘Eid al-Adha holiday, on 6 September. A request has been sent to the Basra Governor to authorize the resurfacing of the area after the illegal properties have been removed.

On 6 September, air traffic controllers in Baghdad and Basra held a 15-minute strike causing disruption in civilian flights in both airports. Participants were protesting the lack of commitment by the Iraqi government to fulfill their demands, which include establishing a national Iraqi Company for air navigation and non-payment of their technical allocations. The air traffic controllers have again threatened to escalate their actions on a daily basis until their demands are met, with the potential for more significant disruptions should further negotiations prove ineffective.

A similar threat was made by the air traffic controllers towards the end of August 2017 which, if carried out, had threatened to close both Baghdad and Basra airports to all civilian aircraft with effect from 31 August. A meeting was held between Ministry of Transport officials and representatives of the air traffic controllers and no strike action was taken, with government promises made on that occasion failing again to materialize.

On 6 September, an unnamed security source in Basra reported that a 5-gram IED detonated in front of a government employee’s home in the Ma’qil area of Basra City and investigation was opened into the incident by security forces. While the motivation for the incident was not discussed, such events typically comprise intimidation attacks resulting from a variety of localized disputes.

On 6 September, the head of the Basra Provincial Council Security Committee, Jabar al-Sa’adi stated that four Iraqi fishermen were handed over to Iraqi authorities in al-Faw police station, together with their boat, after an Iranian naval patrol detained them on 30 August accusing them of illegally crossing the international border while fishing.

On 5 September, a Basra Emergency Police patrol arrested an individual accused of drug trafficking in al-Dayr sub-district, after he was found in possession of 270 grams of methamphetamine in several small bags.

Other Southern Provinces:
On 5 September, al-Rafidain Operations Commander, Major General Ali Ibrahim Dabaaun stated that three individuals hired a taxi driver to take them from Nasiriya garage to al-‘Amara in Maysan. The individuals later kidnapped the driver at gunpoint and stole his vehicle. He stated that a joint security team of the police, Iraqi Army, and National Security Service tracked the gang and freed the hostage in Nahr al-‘Iz in the outskirts of al-‘Uzayr in southern Maysan. The vehicle was recovered as the kidnappers fled towards the marshlands to avoid arrest.

On 6 September, Maysan Police elements arrested 15 wanted individuals on various criminal charges, including murder, thefts, assault and an individual arrested at a highway checkpoint on drug charges, after he was found in possession of 40 grams of methamphetamine drug, a handgun and other unspecified materials.

On 5 September, the Oil Protection Police patrols found the head of a young female buried in the sand in the Saba Well area in southern Dhi Qar. A search operation was launched the find the body, though further details or potential motivations have not been discussed.

On the evening of 5 September, the house of the well-known Shi’a religious leader Shaikh Fadhil al-Badiri, was attacked with a hand grenade in Najaf. Shaikh Fadhil was reportedly uninjured but transferred to hospital due to ill health. Separate reporting states that three grenades were thrown, the first killing three people accompanying the sheikh and the other two targeting Sheikh Fadhil causing him to suffer head injuries. On 6 September Najaf Police Directorate denied media reports which stated there had been an assassination attempt against a religious leader, adding that such reports aim to disturb the security situation in Najaf.

Najaf police are reputed to be reluctant to report breaches of security in the city for fear of discouraging visitors and their welcome revenue and, as in this instance, incidents reported in the media are often flatly denied. Reports of arrests however, are common as they extol the virtues and efficiency of the police force. Further reporting related to this incident will remain important to monitor, though reluctance to discuss such events may see limited discussions unless arrests are made.

On 6 September, Najaf Counter-Crime Department arrested seven wanted individuals on various criminal charges including two individuals who specialized in stealing motorcycles, in different areas of Najaf.

On 5 September, two women were reportedly wounded during a brawl between two families was reported in the Da’um area, in eastern Karbala Province.

On 5 September, the head of the security committee in Suwaira district in northern Wasit, Muksid al-‘Ajili, stated that, due to a “bad” Facebook comment, a brawl involving light weapons erupted between two families in the Suwaira countryside which resulted in the death of a woman in her forties. The security forces deployed to the area and arrested the perpetrator. Given casualties which resulted, the potential exists for additional targeting related to this dispute, with operations to remain aware of tensions in the area.

On 5 September, a young individual, identified as Mustafa Sabih al-‘Ajili was killed by an indiscriminate bullet while he was sitting on the roof of his house in Palestine village in Suwaira district north of al-Kut.

On 5 September, Diwaniyah Police elements arrested an individual accused of confining his 10-year-old daughter in a room after shaving her hair inside their home in an unspecified area. The child was taken to Diwaniyah Teaching Hospital to undergo medical examination.

Diwaniyah police also announced they had arrested a man accused of torturing his 6-year-old son in their home in the Hayy al-‘Askari area of Diwaniyah City.

 

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