Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Islamic State Terrorism And Hashd Intimidation Returns To Babil


Jurf al-Sakhr was once the Islamic State’s capital in Babil province. It gave the group access to southern Iraq, Baghdad province to the north, and Anbar to the west. In 2014, the district was liberated, the entire population expelled, and violence dramatically dropped off in the governorate afterward. This year, Babil is getting it from both sides. The Islamic State is picking up its terrorist attacks, while the Hashd is trying to drive out and intimidate people before the coming Ashura ceremony in September.
(IraqSlogger)

The number of monthly security incidents in Babil is low. For the first seven months of 2017, there was only an average of one incidents per week. Starting in January there were 8, followed by 4 in February, 5 in March, 6 in April, 6 in May, 9 in June, and then 12 in July. That was by far the lowest rate in the central Iraq where most provinces are averaging at least one incident per day if not more.

There were more attacks in 2016, but what has changed are the types of operations the Islamic State is carrying out. Last year, there was an average of two incidents per week. The vast majority of those were shootings and IEDs. There were two suicide bombers, one of which was killed, and two suicide truck bombs. In comparison, during the first seven months of 2017 there have been three suicide motorcycle bombers, two of which were killed, five suicide bombers, three of which were successful, and five car bombs, three that were destroyed. Almost all of these occurred in the Jurf al-Sakhr-Musayib area, showing that IS is attempting a comeback there. Not all originated in Babil either. IS has also been sending in units from east Anbar, which adjoins Babil.

On the other hand, pro-Iran Hashd groups were accused of forcing people out of that same area. Throughout July, politicians such as Speaker of Parliament Salim al-Jabouri and other parliamentarians have claimed that Hashd outfits like Kataib Hezbollah, the Khorasani Brigade, the Imam Ali Brigade, and Asaib Ahl al-Haq have been kidnapping, detaining, and threatening people in the Musayib district. Leaflets were reportedly handed out telling people they had to leave or be killed. As Michael Knights of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy pointed out, the Hashd were probably preparing for the Ashura ceremony in September. That includes pilgrims heading for the shrine city of Karbala. The main route for people from Baghdad, Salahaddin, etc. goes right through Musayib-Jurf al-Sakhr. As one security expert told Al Maalomah, the key to securing Karbala, and other shrine areas was to control Jurf al-Sakhr. That was the original cause of the district being emptied of people in 2014. No one has been allowed back into the town since then, and it has been turned into a military base for the Hashd. That is all meant to guard the pilgrimage route.

Northwest Babil is getting the worst of two worlds. On the one hand, the Islamic State is picking up its mass casualty bombings in the area. The goal is to not only mark the group’s return to the province via terror, but to rebuild its networks, now that it has been defeated in Mosul. On the other hand, Hashd groups are trying to scare and drive out residents to secure the way for pilgrims to the south for next month’s Ashura. Those that are supposed to be in charge of security are intimidating the populace, while failing to stem the latest wave of attacks by the Islamic State.

Violence In Babil 2016
Month
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan
12
13
9
Feb
6
4
6
Mar
11
106
214
Apr
11
5
9
May
10
8
25
Jun
10
1
4
Jul
9
4
5
Aug
12
4
7
Sep
12
2
8
Oct
3
-
2
Nov
7
94
107
Dec
7
1
3

Violence In Babil 2017
Month
Incidents
Dead
Wounded
Jan
8
2
1
Feb
4
151
8
Mar
5
19
12
Apr
6
4
22
May
6
2
14
Jun
9
37
42
Jul
12
24
13

Major Attacks In Babil 2016 vs 2017 (Jan-Jul)
2016
1 Suicide Bomber
1 Suicide Bomber Killed
2 Suicide Truck Bombs
2017 (Jan-Jul)
1 Suicide Motorcycle Bomber
2 Car Bombs
3 Suicide Bombers
2 Suicide Bombers Killed
2 Suicide Motorcycle Bombers Killed
3 Car Bombs Destroyed

SOURCES

Adel, Loaa, "Bomb blast near house north of Babel, nor casualties," Iraqi News, 1/30/17
-"Booby-trapped vehicle explodes in al-Iskandariyah, Babel," Iraqi News, 4/4/17
- "Security forces kill suicide bomber southeast of Baghdad," Iraqi News, 2/23/17

Associated Press, "Death toll rises to 41 after ISIS bombing at Iraq stadium," 3/26/16

Baghdad Post, "5 IMIS militants injured in blast in Hillah," 3/25/17
- "11 killed, injured in suicide attack in southern Baghdad," 5/1/17
- "12 civilians killed, injured in car bomb blast in northern Iraq," 4/29/17
- “IMIS terrorists threaten to kill Sunnis residents in Babil Governorate,” 7/16/17
- “Iran-allied IMIS terrorists storm Jurf al-Sakhr, arrest 53,” 7/31/17
- "Iraqi police foil ISIS attack on power pylons, says official," 5/3/17
-, "Pictures: Iraqi police foil car bomb attack in Hillah city," 7/1/17
- "Unidentified armed men attack house of Nojaba TV channel's reporter," 6/23/17

Faraj, Murtada, "Death Toll From Last Months IS Bombing in Iraq Rises to 92," Associated Press, 12/3/16

Al Ghad Press, "Daesh attacks Jurf al-Sakhr with a car bomb," 7/26/17
- "The dismantling of a suitcase bomb north Babylon," 7/28/17
- "Two civil defense members injured by a bomb explosion in Jurf al-Sakhr," 7/26/17

Iraq News Network, “Deputy: Popular crowd groups threaten people of northern Babylon to leave or be killed,” 7/16/17

Al Maalomah, “Security expert: urging control of Jurf al-Nadah to protect the holy shrines,” 7/31/17

Al Mada, “Babil talks about the return of terrorist activities to Jurf al-Sakhr two years after its liberation,” 7/19/17
- “Jurf al-Sakhr is returning to the frontlines with arrests and renewed security violations,” 8/3/17

Mostafa, Mohamed, “MP: 1000 Babil Sunnis kidnapped by Shia militias in 3 years,” Iraqi News, 7/18/17
- "Officer, civilian killed, in attempted, fatal suicide bombings in Babil," Iraqi News, 6/26/17
- “Parliament chief says kidnapping of Sunnis in Babel “intolerable,”” Iraqi News, 7/9/17

NINA, "2 PMF's Fighters Injured By a Bike Bomb Explosion North Of Babylon," 7/26/17
- "Eight members of the popular crowd wounded in a roadside bomb northwest of Hilla," 2/7/17
- "Five members of the popular crowd injured in a bomb explosion in Jurf Al-Sakhar in Babylon," 4/10/17
- "Five people were injured by eight mortar shells fired north Babylon," 7/12/17
- "Four elements of the popular crowd killed and wounded in a bomb explosion north of Babylon," 7/8/17
- "Four members of the popular crowd injured in a roadside bomb north of Babylon," 3/3/17
- "Gunmen kidnap a policeman north of Hilla," 1/18/17
- "Gunman killed while planting an explosive device near a cemetery north of Hilla," 1/8/17
- "Gunmen Attack Two Cars Of The Hilla Municipality," 7/28/17
- "Gunmen Storm A House In Karbala And Kill A Whole Family," 4/28/17
- "Head Of The Security Committee In Babylon: Victims Toll Rose To 24 Martyrs And 44 Wounded," 6/9/17
- "Injuring the owner of a barber shop in a roadside bomb north of Hilla," 1/31/17
- “The Iraq Forces Coalition: Armed groups kidnapped 61 citizens in Musayyib in Babylon,” 7/9/17
- "The Iskandiriya district police director and a lieutenant died of their wounds from suicide bombing north Babylon," 3/25/16
- "A leader of the popular crowd assassinated north of Hilla," 1/9/17
- "Three people injured by a grenade explosion in Musayib in Babil," 6/15/17
- "Three people were injured in a stun grenade in a café in North of Babylon," 3/15/17
- "Three policemen injured in a bomb explosion while trying to dismantle it in Jurf Al-Sakhar in Babylon," 4/3/17
- "Two Armed Persons, With Two Explosive Belts Arrested North Of Hilla," 6/24/17
- "Two people wounded in grenade attack north of Babylon," 5/16/17
- "Two police men wounded in a bomb explosion north of Babylon," 5/9/17
- "Urgent..A local official: The death toll of the victims of the tanker bomb explosion south of Hilla rose to more than 110 people killed and wounded," 11/24/16

Al Rafidain, “MP Kamel Al-Ghurairi Threatens To Go To The UN If The Government Fails To Stop The Abduction of Civilians,” 7/16/17

Reuters, "Suicide bomber kills at least 31 in crowded Iraqi market," 6/9/17

Rohan, Brian and Faraj, Murtada, "Death Toll in Iraq Bombing Claimed by IS Rises to 73," Associated Press, 11/25/16

Rudaw, “Sunni-Shia tensions stoked in Iraq’s Babil province,” 7/16/17

Salaheddin, Sinan, "Iraq: Death Toll From Sunday's Suicide Attack Climbs to 61," Associated Press, 3/7/16

Sotaliraq, “The popular crowd denies that accusations demanding residents of northern Babylon leave their homes in 24 hours,” 7/16/17

Al Sumaria, "Found the body of a young men left shot dead south Baghdad," 2/23/17
- "Interior Ministry: Martyrdom of a security member embracing a suicide bomber who tried to target a funeral north Babylon," 4/3/17
- "Two members of the popular crowd were killed during infiltration of Daash members into Jurf al-Nadr," 7/22/17

Al Taghier TV, "Two people were killed and three others injured in a suicide bombing in Iskandiriya," 4/3/17

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