Islamic State battles Iraqi forces near Samarra

photo_2015-10-30_20-42-37

Islamic State fighters overrunning an Iraqi position near Samarra

The Islamic State and Iraqi Shiite militias have engaged in heavy fighting near the historic city of Samarra in central Iraq. Islamic State jihadists gained control of some areas west of Samarra after Iraqi forces withdrew, claimed a Shiite militia loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al Sadr.

The Islamic State’s provinces, or wilayats, of Salahadin and Shamal Baghdad [North Baghdad] have put out large photo releases detailing the fighting for several Iraqi positions west of Samarra. The images show the jihadist forces attacking the positions with heavy machine guns, rockets, mortars, rocket-propelled grenades (RPG’s), technicals (heavily armed pick up trucks), and small arms. The Islamic State also displays several checkpoints being overrun, with the jihadist group removing Iraqi and Shiite flags from the compounds.

Several photos show the dead bodies of dozens of Iraqi policemen and Shia militiamen. Many of these are too graphic to be published by The Long War Journal. Additional images highlight the “spoils” gained by the jihadist group, including small arms, RPGs, ammunition, and several vehicles. TheIslamic State also showcased its usage of several foreign suicide bombers, including jihadists from Tajikistan, Tunisia, Egypt, and Bahrain.

The fighting in Samarra has been confirmed by Iraqi officials to have been concentrated west of the city. An Iraqi official from Salahadin said that “Daesh [a derogatory Arabic acronym for the Islamic State] was able to sneak into those areas.” Additionally, the official called on the Iraqi Security Forces to send reinforcements to the government’s elements in the area. The suicide bombings west of the city are said to have happened on Oct. 28 and Oct. 29, however, fighting is ongoing.

Saraya al Salam (Peace Brigades), a Shiite militia led by Muqtada al Sadr and supported by Iran, reported today that its forces have liberated several areas that the Islamic State captured in recent days. In the same statement, the militia said that the Islamic State was able to capture these positions because of the “withdrawal of security forces.” Saraya al Salam also released videos showing its forces clearing terrain near the city and targeting the Islamic State in various areas west of the city.

The Samarra Operations Command also reported that the Iraqi Security Forces have killed 146 Islamic State fighters in the recent fighting, but this number cannot be confirmed by The Long War Journal. The Peace Brigades is the main Shiite militia tasked with protecting the city of Samarra, but other militias are also present, including Jund al Imam. In one photo released by the Islamic State, the jihadist group shows its forces targeting Jund al Imam near an Iraqi checkpoint.

The Islamic State seeks to control Samarra and towns and cites to its south in order to secure the northern Baghdad belt. Jihadist control of this area would make it difficult for Iraqi forces to resupply and reinforce military units to the north in Tikrit and Baiji. Additionally, the Islamic State seeks use this area to disrupt security in Baghdad.

The Iraqi government has allowed Shiite militias, including the Badr Brigade, Hezbollah Brigade, Asaib al Haq (League of the Righteous), and Sadr’s Promised Day Brigade, all of which are supported by Iran’s Qods Force, to reinforce beleaguered and demoralized Iraqi forces in and around Samarra. These militias have remained on the front line and have secured cities and towns, many of which are predominantly Sunni communities, along the road from Samarra to Baghdad.

Photos released by the Islamic State from the recent fighting in Samarra:

Suicide bombers:

Abu Abdul Waleed al Tunisi (Tunisian):

___________________________________small

Abu Muhammad al Tajiki (Tajik):

_________________________________2_small

Abu Uthman al Yemeni:

_________________________________small

Abu al Maghera al Bahraini:

______________________small

Abu al Khadra al Iraqi:

_______small

Abu Musab al Masri:

CSa7XEoVAAAT0zF

The fighting:

00_small

04_small

07_small

08_small

09_small

25

2 (1)

3 (1)

 

13_small

photo_2015-10-30_20-40-37

16_small (1)

photo_2015-10-30_20-42-42

11_small

photo_2015-10-30_20-44-19

23_small

32_small

32

photo_2015-10-30_20-42-14

The “spoils”:

3

8

27_small

45_small

43_small

42_small

48_small

Bill Roggio is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Editor of The Long War Journal. Caleb Weiss is an intern at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and a contributor to The Long War Journal.

Are you a dedicated reader of FDD's Long War Journal? Has our research benefitted you or your team over the years? Support our independent reporting and analysis today by considering a one-time or monthly donation. Thanks for reading! You can make a tax-deductible donation here.

Tags: , ,

3 Comments

  • tuffsnotenuff says:

    So they’ve got more guns than fighters. And the big ticket for their attacks is still suicide bombers.

    Raiders, yes. But an army? They are copying the desert thuggery of the 7th century. That includes rape. Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.

    • IS Fighter says:

      Jealous? Send more of whatever you have. You gave your technology to bunch of ladies who cannot stand against forces of the State.

  • irebukeu says:

    As Ramadi slips from its grasp, as Baji and Kirkuk before it, the Islamic state says nothing then posts videos of checkpoints and outposts being stormed. These guys are not the Mongols. They can and are being beaten everywhere a fight is being put up with a modest amount of air support. That sound you hear are the nails going into the IS coffin. Soon they will be back to an nasty insurgency.

Iraq

Islamic state

Syria

Aqap

Al shabaab

Boko Haram

Isis