The Islamic State utilized at least 13 suicide bombers yesterday in an attack on the city of Ramadi, the besieged capital of the western Iraqi province of Anbar. Many of these suicide bombers were foreigners, and included a Belgian, an Australian, a Chechen, an Uzbek, a Moroccan, a Tunisian, an Egyptian, and two Syrians.
Iraqi officials have not disclosed the number of people killed in the suicide assault, but medical officials in the area told Reuters that five were killed. This toll has not been confirmed and could likely be much higher.
The attacks came from the directions of Albu Aytha, to the northeast of Ramadi, and Albu Diab, which is northwest of the city center, according to Shafaaq News. Iraqi officials said that security forces were able to repel the attack, and some sources claimed that Iraqi Security Forces and Sunni tribal fighters killed 41 Islamic State fighters. The number of Islamic State fighters killed during the attack on Ramadi could not be confirmed.
One suicide bomber was able to detonate on a bridge in the western portion the city, Reuters reported. The Islamic State has released several images from the attack, including one that shows a suicide bomber detonating on the Japanese bridge in the city. Another photo set shows the results of the battle near the bridge, including the bodies of several Iraqi security personnel killed during the fighting. At least two US-supplied M113 armored personnel carriers were also captured.
The assault near the bridge targeted the Iraqi Army’s 1st Division. Iraqi officials said that the Islamic State assaulted the 2nd regiment of the 1st Division, but the attack was repelled and no losses were reported. However, the pictures released by the Islamic State contradict these claims.
Other photos show several other suicide bombings as well as the suicide bombers themselves. In a photo set released today, one destroyed Humvee can be seen near the city. At least four photos show Islamic State fighters firing from technicals or with small arms fire on Iraqi personnel or tribal forces. While several news agency noted that the jihadists launched more than 100 mortar rounds in the attack, the Islamic State did not release photos that show mortars being used.
The jihadist group published several photos showcasing its foreign suicide bombers. It identified them as Abu Bakr al Belgiki (Belgian), Abu Abdullah al Australi (Australian), Usama bin Laden al Uzbeki (Uzbek), Abu Musa al Qawqazi (Chechen), Abu Hassan al Shami (Syrian), Abu Bara al Masri (Egyptian), Abu Abdullah al Maghrebi (Moroccan), Abu Bara al Shami, and Abu Malik al Tunisi (Tunisian). Abu Abdullah al Australi has been identified as Jake Bilardi, an Australian teenager. The Islamic State has released one other image of Bilardi in the past.
The Islamic State has touted its foreign suicide bombers that have executed attacks in Iraq. Suicide bombers from Western countries such as France, Germany and Denmark, and Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Uzbekistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, and Russia have carried out attacks for the jihadist group in Iraq.
The suicide assault, or coordinated attack using one or more suicide bombers and an assault team, is a tactic frequently used by the Islamic State, al Qaeda and its branches, as well as allied groups such as the Afghan Taliban, the Movement of the Taliban in Pakistan, Lashkar-e-Taiba, and the Islamic Movement of Uzbekistan. Suicide assaults are commonly executed by jihadist groups in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Somalia, and Nigeria.
The attack took place as heavy fighting has been reported in the town of Karmah, east of Fallujah. Iraqi officials have claimed that security forces liberated most of the town, killing over 300 Islamic State fighters. However, this number is likely to be exaggerated. It was also reported today that Iraqi personnel have reached the city center of Karmah, with the eastern half being cleared of Islamic State personnel. The Islamic State has released a video challenging these claims, with one scene showing several fighters and Islamic State flags in the center of Karmah. The video also shows several destroyed Iraqi military vehicles and ambushes being conducted on security personnel near the city.
Photos released by the Islamic State showing the suicide bombers:
Abu Bakr al Belgiki:
Abu Hassan al Shami:
Usama bin Laden al Uzbeki:
Abu Musa al Qawqazi:
Abu Bara al Masri:
Abu Abdullah al Maghrebi:
Abu Malik al Tunisi:
Abu Bara al Shami:
Photos showing the fighting in Ramadi:
Fighting near the Japanese bridge in Ramadi: