The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham, al Qaeda’s branch that also operates in Syria, continues to target Iraqi security forces and government officials with suicide assaults, attacks that involve a suicide bomber and an assault team or more than one suicide bomber. The terror group launched four such attacks in three different Iraqi cities over the past two days. Today’s attacks took place in Kirkuk; the first targeted a police intelligence headquarters. From Reuters:
Suicide bombers and gunmen attacked a police intelligence headquarters in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk on Wednesday, killing at least six people and wounding dozens more, a health official said.
Security forces and attackers engaged in a two-hour gun battle at the complex where explosions could be heard, police said.
Hospitals in the city, 250 km (155 miles) north of Baghdad, counted six people killed and 47 wounded, said Sabah Amir Ahmed, head of the health directorate in Kirkuk.
The second assault targeted a mall in Kirkuk. Also from Reuters:
Two suicide bombers armed with sniper rifles entered the shopping complex, took control of it and captured around 15 shoppers as hostages, police said.
After a gun battle, one suicide bomber blew himself up and the other was shot dead by Kurdish security forces who took over the operation from local police. One hostage was wounded, police said.
And yesterday, al Qaeda launched two suicide assaults, one in Tarmiyah and another in Tikrit. From The Associated Press:
Insurgents assaulted a mayor’s office in a Sunni town just north of Baghdad Tuesday, one of several attacks across Iraq that killed 24 people, officials said.
The attack in Tarmiyah, a former insurgent stronghold about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad, began with mortar fire and a suicide bomber who set off his explosives belt at the gate, police said. Gunmen then fired on the building,
A hospital official said 10 people were killed including six policemen, and another 18 were wounded. Security forces have started a search operation for the gunmen who fled to nearby orchards, police said.
Two suicide bombers set off explosive belts at a police administrative building in the city of Tikrit, killing two policemen and three civilians and wounding 25 other people, police and hospital officials said.
While the ISIS’s activities in Syria seem to get all of the press, the group has waged a successful terrorist insurgency in Iraq.
As The Long War Journal has been noting for some time, 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 Iraq, ISIS has conducted five suicide attacks and assaults so far this month and 12 last month, according to a count by LWJ, and a whopping 38 in October, according to the US government. In Syria, the ISIS and the Al Nusrah Front, al Qaeda’s other branch, have executed two suicide attacks and assaults so far this month, 11 in November, and nine more in October, according to a count by LWJ.
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 Iraq’s 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.
This post has been updated to include the suicide assault on the mall in Kirkuk that was reported late Wednesday night.
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