The Islamic State has killed the top police commander for Anbar province, in an IED attack today in a village that is home to the anti-jihadist Awakening in Ramadi. The assassination is the latest blow to Iraq’s beleaguered security forces in the western province.
General Ahmad Sadak al Dulaymi, Anbar’s police chief, was patrolling the village of Albu Risha when the Islamic State targeted his convoy with two IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, earlier today. The police general and three bodyguards were killed in the attack, according to The New York Times.
Iraqi security forces imposed a province-wide curfew after Sadak was assassinated, All Iraq News reported.
General Sadak is the latest senior security official to be assassinated in Anbar. In early June, an Islamic State suicide bomber killed Mohammed Khamis Abu Risha, a top commander in the Anbar Awakening, an anti al Qaeda and Islamic State tribal force, in an attack in Ramadi. Mohammed Khamis commanded hundreds of Awakening fighters. He was also was the nephew of Ahmed Abu Risha, the leader of the Anbar Awakening and the Albu Risha tribe. [See LWJ report, ISIS suicide bomber kills Anbar Awakening leader.]
Ahmed and his family have been the targets of multiple ISIS suicide and conventional attacks over the years. Ahmed’s brother, Sheikh Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, who founded the Awakening in 2006, was killed in a suicide attack in September 2007.
In the past, the Islamic State has capitalized on the assassination of senior security officials in Anbar to expand its control in the province. The Islamic State’s initial takeover of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the provincial capital of Anbar, in January 2014 was preceded by a decapitation attack on the leadership of the 7th Iraqi Army Division, which is based in Anbar. [See LWJ report, Al Qaeda suicide team kills Iraqi general, 17 officers.]
The 7th Division’s commander and the commander of the 28th Brigade were among the 18 officers who were killed after three suicide bombers attacked them in a home in the remote western town of Rutbah on Dec. 21. Less than two weeks after the attack, the Islamic State launched its offensive in Anbar.
Today’s assassination in Anbar is the latest in a series of setbacks for Iraq’s security forces in the province. Within the past several weeks, the Islamic State has routed an armored column in Albu Aytha, just north of Ramadi; overrun Iraqi bases in Saqlawiyah and Alsigir north of Fallujah; and taken control of the town of Hit, which is just west of Ramadi, and surrounding areas. [For more details, see LWJ reports, Islamic State seizes Hit, assaults Iraqi military headquarters in Anbar, Islamic State ambushes Iraqi military column near Ramadi, Islamic State overruns Iraqi military base in Anbar, and Islamic State photos detail rout of Iraqi Army at Camp Saqlawiya.]
The Islamic State has made these recent gains despite US and allied airstrikes that are supporting Iraqi forces in Anbar. Since Aug. 7, when airstrikes by the US-led coalition in Iraq began, the US has launched 50 airstrikes against the Islamic State in Anbar province, according to data compiled by The Long War Journal and Qualitative Military Edge.
The Islamic State holds most of Anbar province, with the exception of Haditha and its dam. Half of Ramadi is said to be under Islamic State control, and an Iraqi official recently said the Islamic State controls all of the areas outside the provincial capital.