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21 Nov 2020 | 05:21 PM UTC

Iraq: Islamic State ambush reported in Salah al Din governorate November 21

Islamic State ambush reportedly kills nine in Salah al Din governorate on November 21; further attacks likely

security
IRQ

Event

An alleged Islamic State ambush killed at least nine people in Salah al Din governorate on Saturday, November 21. The ambush reportedly targeted a civilian vehicle in al-Zouiya municipality, 50km (30mi) north of Tikrit, killing three people. The ambushers then opened fire on Iraqi police and members of the Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) that responded to the incident, killing four PMF soldiers and two police officers. There were no immediate reports of casualties among the assailants. The Islamic State has not claimed the attack, but it has been attributed to them by Iraqi security forces.

A heightened security presence is to be anticipated in the governorate over the coming days. Further attacks cannot be ruled out.

Context

Iraq declared victory over IS in December 2017 after a three-year military campaign against it; however, IS militants continue to carry out attacks, notably against security forces. High-profile attacks often prompt equally significant security responses, including enhanced checkpoint operations and more proactive operations, with resulting effects on transit. There has been an increase in attacks in recent months, with the governorate of Diyala bearing the brunt of these attacks.

Advice

Individuals in Iraq are advised to remain vigilant for militant activity and adhere to any instructions issued by the local authorities and their home governments.

The security environment in Iraq remains complex. Although travel is possible in some areas with proper security protocols in place, other areas should be considered strictly off-limits. Professional security advice and support should be sought prior to all travel.