The liberation of Mosul is now in its final stages, with Iraqi forces closing in on the main government building in the western part of the city. The loss of Mosul is considered a major setback for the Islamic State (IS), given the city’s strategic, economic and even symbolic significance, having been the city where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi proclaimed the caliphate in the summer of 2014. However, recapturing Mosul should not be construed as the end of IS presence in Iraq, as the group still maintains enough military capabilities to launch attacks in several areas in the country.
On Feb. 26, IS attacked an Iraqi border guard position near Jordan-Saudi Arabia borders. Two days prior to this incident, the group carried out an attack on Trebil border crossing point with Jordan, killing 15 Iraqi border guards. Every time IS loses ground and strategic areas, it resorts to attacks on civilian targets and militarily fragile areas, in a bid to preserve its presence in Iraq. In one of the deadliest bombings this year, IS detonated a car bomb in Bayyaa auto market Feb. 16, killing 51 and injuring dozens. The attack was the third of its kind in a series of explosions that rocked Baghdad in a period of three days.