Situation, Facts and Events

Update on Islamic State activities in Iraq

In February, a number of operations were carried out in various regions of Iraq to counter the activities of the Islamic State (IS) terrorist group militants.


The Iraqi Military Intelligence Directorate announced on February 5 that seven wanted ISIS terrorists were detained during operations in Baghdad, Anbar, Kirkuk and Ninewa governorates.


On February 12, Iraqi military aircraft eliminated at least six IS fighters in Diyala governorate. The target of the attack was the strongholds of the terrorists in the center of the governorate.


On February 15, the Iraqi National Intelligence Service announced the arrest of several IS leaders who were preparing terrorist acts outside the country. It was noted that these people were already involved in attacks committed in Iraq and abroad.

On February 16, Iraqi security forces eliminated a group of militants who planned a terrorist attack in the city of Tarmiya, about 50 km north of Baghdad. During the operation, four police officers were killed and six more were injured. According to law enforcement, the eliminated group of militants planned to attack visitors to the Al-Kadhimiya Shia mosque. Meanwhile, experts note that “the failure of Iraqi security forces to defeat IS terrorists in the northern part of the Baghdad belt may allow the Islamic State to attack the capital.” It also emphasizes that “the recent attacks at Tarmiya indicate that IS is still able to provide logistical support to assault groups in the Baghdad belt, that almost certainly target the city."


On February 16, police eliminated two terrorists in Diyala governorate. They seized weapons, night vision goggles and other types of equipment.


On February 23, the Iraqi military detained two terrorists in the city of Kirkuk.


On February 24, the Iraqi Security Service announced the elimination of five IS terrorists by an airstrike in Salah al-Din governorate.


Iraqi Prime Minister Mohammed Shia al-Sudani, speaking on February 18 at the annual Munich Security Conference, said, in particular: “We have finally defeated terrorism, and the Islamic State no longer exists on the territory of Iraq.” However, he then clarified that “sporadic extremist elements are still active in the country and remnants of IS are present along the border with Syria, but they are constantly pursued by Iraqi security forces.” In this context, Al-Sudani emphasized the need for international cooperation and coordination in countering terror and the existing international terrorist network.  


The Iraqi security officials are less optimistic about the situation with terrorism countering. Thus, on February 21, the Spokesperson to the Commander-in-Chief of the Iraqi Armed Forces, Major General Yehya Rasool noted: “The fight against terrorism has not ended, and the Islamic State still poses a threat to the national security; the battle with it is now being fought with the help of intelligence.” In addition, he said, “military units have been developed from the Iraqi army and Peshmerga forces to work in the areas with a security vacuum.” According to Rasool, there have been several successful operations against terrorists recently in Diyala governorate, northeast of Baghdad, and in the western Anbar governorate. Currently, “Iraqi security forces are launching a new operation, called Swords of Justice, to destroy extremist cells in remote areas of the governorates of Diyala, Salah al-Din and Ninewa.”

Source: Институт Ближнего Востока