Weekly Security Update
This week’s security update will be an abridged version of our regular weekly report. The total number of reported incidents across Iraq for the period 3-9 September 2012 was 119. This is slightly lower higher than last week’s figure of 11, and above the 2012 weekly average. This weeks reporting was dominated by another series of coordinated countrywide attacks which took place on 9 September across a number of cities in Iraq, including a number of attacks in the south-eastern provinces, which have previously escaped inclusion on the 2012 coordinated attacks conducted by Sunni insurgents. While some commentary linked the attacks to the ‘in-absentia’ guilty verdict announced against the former Iraqi Vice-President, Tariq al-Hashemi on 9 September, it is likely that the attacks were intended to coincide with the expected verdict rather than as a direct result of it – therefore maximizing international exposure.
Coordinated mass-casualty attacks in 2012 to date have predominantly been conducted in central and Sunni dominated areas of northern and western Iraq. While these latest attacks were significantly less in terms of death toll and coverage than the 23 July spectacular attacks which took place across the central and northern regions, the 9 September attacks also saw devices detonated in the predominantly Shia cities of Nasiriyah and Basra in the south. In all 19 car bombs and another 16 separate explosive events were assessed to have been connected with the 9 September attacks. The attack series was subsequently claimed by the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) / Al Qaida in Iraq (AQI) on a website used by the organisation.
Northern Iraq (North and North Central Regions – including the KRG)
The Northern Region reported 27 incidents during the period, comparative with last week’s figures and slightly above the 2012 weekly average. As is the norm, the majority of reported activity remained centred on Mosul city. The 9 September saw car bombs disarmed in the western towns of Rabia and Ba’aj and a car bomb detonation in Tal Afar to the west of Mosul
The North Central Region reported 43 incidents during the period, a significant increase on last week’s figure of 29 and well above the 2012 weekly average for the region. Several car bombs associated with the 9 September attacks targeted government locations in Kirkuk city and Iraq Security Forces in the Hawijah area to the west of Kirkuk city.
Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) – Only one significant incident were reported during the period in the three provinces that comprise the KRG (Dahuk,Erbil and Sulaymaniyah). This consisted of a hand grenade attack at a civilian residence in the city of Sulaymaniyah.
Central Iraq (Baghdad and Anbar)
Baghdad recorded 32 incidents this week, an increase from last week’s figure of 24 and slightly above the 2012 weekly average. Seven of the 9 September car bomb attacks occurred within predominantly Shia areas of Baghdad city.
Activity in Anbar province increased during the reporting period, with a total of eight incidents compared to 15 during the previous period.
Southern Iraq (South Central and South East Regions)
Activity levels in the South Central Region remained subdued during this reporting period with a total of four incidents reported, compared to three for the previous period. This figure sits well below the 2012 week average and continues to demonstrate that the south of the country remains significantly quieter in terms of incidents than the rest of Iraq(less the KRG
While reported activity in the South East Region for this week decreased from 14 to nine; this week saw several attacks connected with the 9 September nationwide incidents, including two car bombs in Nasiriyah and a car bomb and a separate suicide-vest find in Basra city. These are the first attacks attributed to ISI/AQI in the southeast since January this year.