Map of Special Groups Activity in Iraq
Updated as of November 7, 2008, this document maps Multi-National Force-Iraq press releases on activity by and against Special Groups. The press releases are plotted by the location of the incident in reverse chronological order. Efforts have been made to plot the data points with as much accuracy as possible. Approximate placemarks are noted in the description. Incidents with unspecified locations in Baghdad are placed in Sadr City, Baghdad, as this area is a known hub of Special Groups activity. Red placemarks represent incidents of explosively-formed penetrator (EFP) detonations or other attacks with probable links to Special Groups. Yellow placemarks indicate discoveries of caches containing weapons associated with Special Groups. Green placemarks identify detainments of suspected Special Groups criminals. Purple placemarks label precision strikes against Special Groups by coalition aerial and ground forces. The mapped list includes all MNF-I press releases that indicate confirmed or probable Special Groups involvement. It does not include reports from other sources.
Iranian-backed Special Groups have become increasingly active in Baghdad and central Iraq since mid-2007. These groups principally target US forces operating in the area, in the hopes of prompting their eventual withdrawal.
They also actively seek to undermine the Maliki government. The hallmark weapon of Special Groups is the explosively-formed penetrator, an especially lethal IED capable of penetrating heavily-armored vehicles.
Special Groups operate throughout Iraq– specifically in Baghdadand the belts using the major road networks leading from Iranto the capital for facilitation. Within Baghdad, Special Groups extremists have been found to operate in many of the JAM-dominated areas, primarily in the districts of SadrCity, 9 Nissan, Kadhimiyah and West Rasheed. Special Groups lines of communication and transit routes run northwest of the capital in Diyala province and south of the capital in Babil and Wasit provinces. These northern routes run from the border crossing near Khanaqin south along the DiyalaRiveror west from Mandali and Balad Ruz to the Khalis corridor north of Baghdad. A number or Special Groups operatives and weapons caches have been found in the cities of Khalis, Qasarin, and Khan Bani Saad. South of Baghdad in Wasit province, EFPs, weapons, recruits for Special Groups, and smuggled goods have flowed through the major border crossing between Mehran, Iranand Zurbatiya, Iraq.
Intelligence from the January 20, 2007 Special Groups attack on aKarbalaProvinceJointCoordinationCenter led to the captures and kills of the high-ranking network leaders in the spring. The captures of Qods Force operatives in Irbil and Sulaymaniyah have also generated a great deal of information on the Special Groups networks in Iraq The increased pace of Coalition raids has also resulted in the capture of numerous other Special Groups cell leaders, weapons facilitators, and trainers. Coalition Forces have actively targeted Special Groups extremists since mid-2007.
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Herve Bar, “Baghdad security guard by day, insurgent by night,” Agence France Presse, September 23, 2007.
Dehghanpisheh, "Iraq's New Guns for Hire,"
Newsweek, May 7, 2007; Department of Defense News Briefing with Multi-National Division-Center and 3rd Infantry Division Commander Maj. Gen. Rick Lynch, Topic: Operation Marne Husky, Location: Pentagon, Arlington, VA, August 24, 2007.