Iraqi Shi’a militias continue to escalate their campaign. The attacks in Basra are reminiscent of the killing of Iraqi Sunni tribal leaders in the city in November 2013 that ISW assessed to have been carried out by Iraqi Shi’a militias.
The Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) continues to consolidate its governance presence in Mosul and western Iraq.
Daquq in Kirkuk province is home to the Imam Zain al-Abdin shrine and is a mixed area. On July 20, Iraqi Shi’a volunteers were reportedly flown in from the south in order to provide protection from possible ISIS advances in the area.
The situation in the vicinity of Baghdad continues to intensify. ISIS has emplaced IEDs in the southern belts of Baghdad, areas that it has previously targeted with IED or suicide attacks.
ISIS’s VBIED command is active again, launching its first signature wave of Vehicle-Born Improvised Explosive Devices (VBIEDs) since the beginning of the Mosul offensive.
The ISIS assault in Bashir, 30km south of Kirkuk city, continued with attacks upon Shi’a religious centers, shrines, and political party headquarters.
ISIS continues its offensive into Kurdish areas along Kirkuk City and along the Arab-Kurd contested Green Line along the Hamrin Ridge.
ISIS is likely seeking to establish a presence in Kirkuk city. The pattern of attacks in the city indicates an early replication of previous ISIS effort in other parts of Iraq where ISIS was seeking to soften defenses and establish control.
ISIS is launching attacks into Baghdad with a series of VBIEDs in and near the capital in order to set the terms of battle by probing the defenses of pro-government forces and demoralizing them.