Yesterday saw the most significant coordinated violence in Iraq of some time (years). Our Analytical team yesterday summarized the initial details:
Security: Areas in the central and north of the country have been subjected to a string of car bombings and extremist attacks which have reportedly killed and wounded 100+ Iraqis.
Reported areas of violence:
- South Baghdad (Madain district) – Car bomb attack and three IED explosions. 6 killed 13 wounded.
- South Baghdad (Mahmudiya district) – Car bomb attack against civilians. 5 killed 28 wounded.
- Baghdad (Husseiniya, (N/W) district) Car bomb attack. 3 killed 31 wounded.
- Baghdad (Sadr city, (E) district) – Car bomb attack against civilians. 21 killed and wounded.
- Baghdad (Taji, (N) suburbs) – Car bomb attack against civilians and ISF. 7 killed 28 wounded.
- Diyala province (Khan Bani Saad, (N) Baghdad) – Suicide bombing followed by car bomb attack. No further details given.
- Diyala province (Saadiya, (E) district) – Car bomb attack against IP patrol. 1 killed 3 wounded.
- Diyala province (Tuz Kharamtu, (N) district) – Two Car bomb attacks against civilians and ISF. 2 killed 35 wounded.
- Salahddin province – Exact location unknown. Mortar attack against IA base. 19 killed and wounded.
- Ramadi – Car bomb attack against police station. 6 killed and wounded.
- South Mosul city – Car bomb attack. 17 killed and wounded
- Kirkuk city – 4 car bomb attacks in quick succession. At least 5 killed 17 wounded
The first online statement from the new leader of al-Qaida's affiliate in Iraq claims that the militant network is returning to strongholds from which it was driven by U.S. forces and their Sunni allies before the American withdrawal at the end of last year. The al-Qaida leader claimed the militant group is preparing operations to free prisoners and assassinate court officials. The audio identified the speaker as Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who became head of the Islamic State of Iraq (ISI) in 2010. It was posted late Saturday evening on a website regularly used by the militant movement to make statements. He also invited Muslims to come to Iraq to join his militants. The statement comes as Sunni insurgents, now believed to be dominated by the ISI, have stepped up attacks against Shiites, government officials and other targets, in what is seen as an attempt to undercut the authority of Iraq's government and revive sectarian conflict.
Last week Unity reported the likelihood of repercussions in the south of Baghdad following the arrest of 19 AQI operatives in the district of Mahmudiyah. The car bomb explosion witnessed in the district, coupled with other similar attacks in neighboring areas, is indicative of al-Baghdadi’s statement claiming to have regained former strongholds, and provides evidence that these networks are far from eradicated.
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