Safe Return



Summary: Most militant attacks during this reporting period happened in the Shora and Gwer sudistricts and outlying villages. Incidents included two attacks with improvised explosive devices (IEDs) against civilians and Iraqi security forces (ISF) in Gwer, and three with small arms fire in Shora that killed four civilians and wounded two more. Security incidents also included five operations by the ISF in various parts of Ninewa that resulted in arresting at least 38 suspects and wanted individuals, and two more operations in which the ISF discovered weapons or defused IEDs. In the Hadhar district, the army and popular mobilization forces (PMF) conducted a large security operation that uncovered and destroyed several tunnels and a bomb factory used by ISIS militants. Meanwhile, the national security directorate opened three offices that had been destroyed by ISIS in Tel Kaif, Wana and Bartella.

Note: locations are approximate

Security Incidents

On December 21, one of our community based monitors reported that ISIS militants opened fire on a civilian vehicle carrying two doctors on the road to al-Majman village in the Shora subdistrict south of Mosul. One of the passengers was killed and the other was wounded.

On December 21, the Ninewa police, acting on court warrants, arrested eight suspected ISIS members in various parts of east Mosul. Three of the suspects were reportedly in the Hisba organization, one was in the Sharia organization while the other four were ISIS fighters during its occupation of Mosul.

On December 22, ISF discovered a weapons cache in the Muhalabiya village in Tal Afar west of Mosul. The cache was inside a house and included mortar and artillery rounds, heavy machine-gun munitions and other explosives that were disposed of by military engineers.

On December 22, the ISF arrested nine ISIS members in various villages belonging to Hamam al-Alil subdistrict, including Salahiya, Dbaja, Sheikh Younis, Husseiniya, Lazaga, Muzmilat and Tel Rayan. The suspects were ISIS fighters during the occupation of Mosul.

On December 22, two civilians were killed and a third was injured when ISIS militants attacked the Rasif village in the Shora subdistrict south of Mosul.

On December 22, unidentified militants assassinated the imam of the Huda mosque in the Shora subdistrict. Police sources said the assailants used silenced weapons and arrived in vehicles without plates.

On December 23, the PMF launched a joint security operation with the army and tribal fighters to clear 760 square kilometers in al-Hadhar district, passing through Wadi Tharthar and up to the Um al-Aqarib bridge south of Mosul. The operation uncovered eight tunnels and ten hideouts, some containing weapons and logistical supplies used by militants, and an IED factory. Military engineers destroyed four of the tunnels along with the factory.

On December 24, the ISF arrested two suspected terrorists in the Rabei and Qadisiyah neighborhoods in Tal Afar west of Mosul. The suspects were reportedly ISIS fighters during the occupation of Mosul.

On December 24, two IEDs exploded targeting PMF and army units with the 14th division in the Kashaf village in the Gwer subdistrict. Two ISF members were killed and five more were wounded.

On December 25, bomb squads with the 30th brigade of the PMF removed ten IEDs in the Sheikh Amir village in the Ninewa plains east of Mosul. Locals reportedly asked the PMF for help because the IED contamination prevented them from cultivating their land.

On December 25, the ISF arrested five suspected ISIS members in old Mosul. A police source said the ISF took the suspects to the Ninewa command center for questioning.

On December 25, the Ninewa operations commander said that the ISF reopened three offices for the national security directorate that ISIS had destroyed during its occupation of Ninewa. The buildings are located in Tel Kaif and Wana north of Mosul and in Bartella east of the city.

On December 26, Ninewa SWAT forces conducted a search and security verification operation utilizing wanted persons databases in the Teeba village south of Mosul. The operation resulted in the arrest of 13 suspects.

Officially launched in June 2019, Ninewa-ISHM and Security Bulletins utilize information collected from community-based monitors; Iraq-based Arabic, Kurdish, and English news sources; data from aid agencies; and social media posts, verified and fact-checked by EPIC’s research team. This weekly bulletin is part of Safe Return, a project to support the safe and voluntary return of IDPs who have survived severe human rights abuses to their homes in Ninewa. Safe Return is made possible with the generous support of the American people through USAID in partnership with Heartland Alliance International.

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