Skip to main content

How IS is trying to thwart progress in Mosul operation

Islamic State militants are trying to find security breaches in various areas to distract the Iraqi forces from the operation to liberate Mosul and thus slow down their advance.
Smoke rises as Kurdish forces take up position at a site of an attack by Islamic State militants in Kirkuk, Iraq, October 21, 2016. REUTERS/Ako Rasheed - RTX2PVTF

BAGHDAD — After the attack by the Islamic State (IS) on Kirkuk on Oct. 21, the arms market in the city experienced a boom in reaction to the possibility of further attacks. An arms dealer told Al-Monitor, “A weapon that used to sell for 400,000 Iraqi dinars [$338] now sells for 550,000 dinars.”

The Oct. 21 attack was not the only breach that happened since the start of the Mosul operation. On Oct. 23, Rutba in the western part of Anbar province saw a similar breach that led to the fall of almost half the city. Rutba’s situation is very similar to that of Kirkuk because large areas at their edges are under IS control, especially the area between Rutbah and Qaim. A similar attack on Rutba occurred Nov. 7.

Access the Middle East news and analysis you can trust

Join our community of Middle East readers to experience all of Al-Monitor, including 24/7 news, analyses, memos, reports and newsletters.


Only $100 per year.