The Islamic State has publicized a number of photos that show suicide bombers that were used against Iraqi forces in and around the central city of Baiji on June 13. The foreign suicide bombers are part of what the jihadist group is dubbing “The Battle of Abdul Razzaq al Mashadani,” which is its name for the ongoing fight against Iraqi troops and Shiite militias for control of the city.
The Islamic State deployed seven suicide bombers, including jihadists from England, Germany, the Russian Republic of Daghestan, Kuwait, Palestine, and an Uighur, which is an ethnic group native to China’s western Xinjiang province. One suicide bomber, identified as Usama al Daghestani, detonated near the barracks of Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) and Shiite militias.
According to the Islamic State’s Al Bayan radio news service, four suicide bombers were deployed against “Safawi army,” or Shiites, and Asaib al Haq “militia bases” in the Al Hajjaj area in Salahaddin Province. Abu Hafs al Kuwaiti attacked the “Zawra checkpoint near the village of al-Mazra’ah;” Abu Abdul Azīz al Falastini targeted “the Safawi SWAT forces base;” Abū Ibrahim al Almani struck “the Safawi operations base;” and Abu Yusuf al Britani hit another base belonging to the Iranian-backed Asaib al Haq militia.
Another three suicide bombers, identified as Abū Sa’d al Daghestani, Abu Siddiq al Turkistani, and Usama al Daghestani, attacked “Safawi army” and “Rafidi [Iranian] militia barracks” west of Baiji.
The Islamic State claimed that the coordinated suicide assaults “succeeded in killing and wounding dozens of Safawi soldiers” and Asaib al Haq fighters.
Reuters Arabic reported that the suicide bombings, which took place near the Baiji oil refinery complex, killed 11 people. Reuters said that four of the suicide bombers used in in the assault detonated near the refinery.
Iraqi troops and several Iranian-supported Shiite militias have entered Baiji and are vying for control of the central Iraqi city with the Islamic State. Al Jazeera Arabic has reported that Iraqi forces are in control of the southern portion of the city and are advancing to the eastern and western portions. Several Shiite militias, including Asaib al Haq, Kata’ib Imam Ali, Saraya al Khorasani, Kata’ib Saeed al Shuhada, and the Hezbollah Brigades are taking part in the fighting for Baiji. [For more on the current offensive in Baiji, see LWJ report, Iraqi Security Forces, Shiite militias make gains in Baiji.]
The Islamic State made significant gains at the Baiji refinery last month after a renewed offensive. The jihadist group was able to take control of several sub-refineries, as well as the northern and southern portion of the refinery. Al Jazeera has reported that the fighting at the refinery has “improved” but did not go into detail of what percentage the Iraqi forces have been able to take back. Last month, it was estimated that the Islamic State controlled more than 80 percent of the refinery. Much of the infrastructure is said to have been destroyed in the fighting. [See LWJ report, Fighting at Iraq’s Baiji oil refinery is ‘flowing in the wrong direction’.]
Foreign fighters lead Islamic State’s suicide operations
The Islamic State has touted its foreign suicide bombers that have executed attacks in Iraq. Suicide bombers from Western countries such as France, England, Germany, Belgium, and Denmark, and Australia, Algeria, Tunisia, Libya, Egypt, Morocco, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, Syria, Iran, Turkey, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Tajikistan, China, and Russia have carried out numerous 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 Islamic State has used the suicide assault to demoralize and strike fear into the hearts of Iraqi troops, and often uses five or more suicide bombers during a single attack. This tactic has allowed the Islamic State to overwhelm Iraqi forces. Between May 15 and May 17, the Islamic State deployed 30 suicide bombers during its operation to take control of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar. Two month prior, the Islamic State deployed 13 suicide bombers in Ramadi in a single day. Many of the suicide bombers were foreigners, and included a Belgian, an Australian, a Chechen, an Uzbek, a Moroccan, a Tunisian, an Egyptian, and two Syrians. [See LWJ report, Foreign suicide bombers launch assault on Ramadi.]
Photos of the suicide bombers:
Abu Yusuf al Britani:
Abu Hafas al Kuwaiti:
Abu Ibrahim al Almani (German):
Abu Sadiq al Turkistani (Uighur):
Abu Abdul Aziz al Filistiini (Palestinian):
Usama al Daghestani:
Abu Saad al Daghestani:
Suicide bombers going over the battleplan: