On Sunday, April 22, the Islamic State (IS) group threatened to attack polling stations in Iraq ahead of parliamentary elections scheduled May 12. According to an IS statement, anyone who votes or runs in the election may be targeted. Despite an expected heightened security presence around polling stations in advance of and during the May 12 elections, IS militant attacks on and near polling stations cannot be ruled out.
The campaign period for national legislative elections in Iraq began on April 14. The elections themselves will be held on May 12. Voters will select more than 300 members of parliament, who will in turn elect the president and prime minister. An elevated terrorist risk is expected for the duration of the campaign period, although the capabilities of militant groups such as the Islamic State (IS) remain limited.
On April 7, a suicide attack on the headquarters of the Al-Hal (Solution) political party in Anbar province, claimed by IS, killed at least four people and wounded seven others.
Although Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi claimed victory over IS in December 2017, the group retains a degree of freedom of movement in the northeast (Hamrim Mountains), near the Tigris and Zab rivers, in rural regions of Anbar province, and along the Syrian border in the west. IS militants continue to carry out attacks, notably against security forces.
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.