ISIS uses 8 suicide bombers in complex attack in western Iraq

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (or Levant) used eight suicide bombers in a complex assault today that targeted police and local government officials in western Iraq. The Iraqi al Qaeda branch has deployed at least 22 suicide bombers in Iraq so far this month.

Today’s complex attack took place in the western Iraqi town of Rawa in Anbar province. Three members of Rawa’s local council and three policemen were killed in the attack, AFP reported.

“Two suicide bombers on foot and another driving a vehicle rigged with explosives attacked the police headquarters for the area, while another driving a vehicle hit an army checkpoint at the town’s entrance,” according to AFP. “Moreover, three other bombers on foot and another in a vehicle attacked the local administrative headquarters, where officials were meeting.”

The ISIS carried out a complex conventional assault in the area one month ago in the nearby town of Haditha. In that attack, a company of al Qaeda fighters mounted in trucks assaulted a military headquarters in Haditha as mortars rained down.

Today’s attack follows another similar operation by the ISIS in Bayji on Sept 21. In that attack, a four-man suicide assault team attacked a police special forces base in the city, killing seven policemen and wounding 20 more. The suicide bombers were able to enter the compound before either being shot or detonating their vests.

The ISIS has not had difficulty in recruiting and deploying suicide bombers in either Iraq or in Syria, where it is a dominant force in the insurgency against President’s Bashir al Assad’s embattled regime.

In addition to today’s suicide attacks in Rawa, the ISIS has deployed 12 suicide bombers in attacks across Iraq since the beginning of the month, according to a count by The Long War Journal. There was a suicide attack in Baghdad today that killed 35 people. Three bombers were used on Oct. 17; two on Oct. 6; two on Oct. 5; one on Oct. 4; and a three-person suicide assault team attacked Iraqi troops in Tikrit on Oct. 1.

Data for ISIS suicide bombings in Syria is difficult to obtain as the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant and the Muhajireen Army, both al Qaeda groups that operate in the country, also conduct suicide attacks. There have been at least seven suicide attacks reported in Syria so far this month.

The ISIS has conducted numerous coordinated assaults on Iraqi security forces over the past year. The most prominent raid took place on July 21, when assault teams attacked prisons in Abu Ghraib and Taji. At least 26 policemen and prison guards were killed, while hundreds of prisoners, including many senior al Qaeda leaders, escaped. Many are still on the loose.

The ISIS continues to display its capacity to plan and execute coordinated operations against security facilities. These attacks are part of multiple ‘waves’ of al Qaeda’s “Destroying the Walls” campaign, which was announced by emir Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who is also known as Abu Du’a, on July 21, 2012.

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of FDD's Long War Journal.

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4 Comments

  • Myrrdin Seren says:

    “The ISIS has not had difficulty in recruiting and deploying suicide bombers in either Iraq or in Syria,…”
    Just incredible, isn’t it ?
    They have to have pipelines to stream the wannabe human bombs in to their networks,
    train them for what appear to be increasingly complex tactical missions,
    maintain them with food, shelter, weapons and facilities AND keep the pressure to want to self-detonate on;
    plan and reconnoitre targets like this Rawa attack;
    assemble the assualt teams, execute – move on and start the next planned assault.
    This takes money and safe locations. The jihadis seem to have virtually established well-funded and supplied enclaves on the Iraq/Syria borders and appear to be almost undistrupted in their operations.
    In almost beggars belief that they can operate with such apparent impunity, when a satellite can read a license plate in the Kremlin.

  • Gerry301 says:

    The most obvious question would be are these Shia against Sunni or independent for other reasons.

  • James says:

    This should come as no surprise.
    I believe that this al baghdadi (as well as other high-level leaders in AQI) has vowed on repeated occasions to attack INSIDE the US.
    Are these just ‘dry runs’ of a planned attack that would rival or even exceed the 9/11 attacks?
    Take notice of the number of attackers and the complexity involved.
    We’ve allowed this sorry state of affairs to develop by NOT intervening forcefully and decisively enough in Syria.

  • NOJO says:

    The ISIS and Jabhat are the Sunni aggressors against anabody who is not down with there form of Islam, which is whabism. From my knowledge and experience the Shia fighters are the defensive side and usually the victims of Saudi sponsored Sunni al Qaeda. Think Iran= Shia Sauid Arabia= al Qaeda Sunni which is the real enemy.

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