A body-borne improvised explosive device (BBIED) attack killed at least six tribal militia fighters and wounded seven others in Asdira (Salah Al-Din province), north of Tikrit, on Wednesday, August 22. The tribal fighters were reportedly part of the Tribal Mobilization Forces, a US-backed umbrella organization of Sunni tribal militias allied with the Iraqi government against the Islamic State (IS). Though no group immediately claimed responsibility, IS militants are known to be active in the area and are suspected of carrying out the attack. Similar suicide bombing attacks are possible in northern Iraq in the near-term.
Notably, IS militants launched an attack on a checkpoint in Baiji district (Salah Al-Din province) on August 11, killing at least five people and wounding another affiliated with the predominantly Shi'a Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF) umbrella paramilitary group.
Although Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Al-Abadi claimed victory over the Islamic State (IS) in December 2017, the group retains a degree of freedom of movement in parts of the country, particularly in northern and western Iraq. 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.
Individuals in northern Iraq, particularly in the abovementioned areas, are advised to monitor developments to the situation, remain vigilant for militant activity, and adhere to all 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.
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