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Nima Elbagir (CNN) — The battle for the key Iraqi city of Ramadi has opened a window into the resilience of ISIS. It took months of daily onslaughts before Iraqi forces and the U.S.-led coalition were able to expel the militants from the city center recently.
Despite this setback, ISIS still controls as much as 25% of Ramadi, local tribal leaders say. And fighting continues to rage in pockets throughout the city.
So how does ISIS evade airstrikes? In Ramadi, as in many ISIS strongholds, the answer lies below the ground. "During our advance to cleanse the area, they would distract us and disappear," Maj. Gen. Sami Kathim, commander of Iraqi Counter Terror Services, told CNN.
Reuters — Islamic State claimed responsibility for a suicide attack with an explosive-laden fuel tanker on an Iraqi police checkpoint south of Baghdad, killing at least 60 people and wounding more than 70, medical and security officials said.
Responsibility was claimed in a posting on the website of the Amaq news agency, which supports the ultra-hardline Sunni group. "A martyr's operation with a truck bomb hit the Babylon Ruins checkpoint at the entrance of the city of Hilla, killing and wounding dozens," the statement on the Amaq website said.
Hilla is the capital of Babylon province, a predominantly Shi'ite region with some Sunni presence. "It's the largest bombing in the province to date," Falah al-Radhi, the head of the provincial security committee, told Reuters. "The checkpoint, the nearby police station were destroyed as well as some houses and dozens of cars."
Scott Stewart (Stratfor) — On July 18, the eve of the Eid al-Fitr holiday, the market in Khan Bani Saad in Iraq's Diyala Governorate was packed with people buying items to prepare for family celebrations.
Amid the hustle and bustle, a merchant's truck entered the market. The driver announced that because of the holiday he was selling ice at deeply discounted prices. Such an offer was welcome in the scorching heat of an Iraqi summer, and many people crowded around the truck to take advantage of the sale.
As the crowd gathered, the truck's driver pushed an innocuous switch and the large quantity of explosives concealed under his cargo of ice erupted into a massive explosion. The fiery blast killed at least 130 people and injured scores of others. The powerful device left a deep crater in the street and severely damaged the surrounding building.
A roadside bomb attack targeted a police van on July 28, in the predominately Shiite village of Sitra, south of the capital Manama, killing two police officers and wounding five others. Police attacks are nothing new in Bahrain, where the authorities have been attempting to quash Shiite protests since 2011.
Over the past few years, police officers have been killed in relatively unsophisticated ways, such as being run over by cars or after being hit by flare guns, pipe bombs and Molotov cocktails.
A tactical breakdown of the July 28 attack, however, reveals that it was different from past attacks against police in Bahrain. First, the explosive device used in the action appears to have been constructed using high explosives, as opposed to the type of low explosive pipe bomb most frequently employed.
Newsweek — A girl, who police described as around 10 years old, killed 19 and injured 47 in a suicide bombing on Sunday in the north-eastern Nigerian city of Damaturu.
No group has taken responsibility for the attack, although the bombing employed a similar approach as previous attacks attributed to the jihadist group, Boko Haram. This attack is the most recent in a string of bombings over the last month employing women and young girls.
Sunday’s bombing took place near a crowded market in Damaturu, a city in the Nigerian state of Yobe, which has been the site of a number of recent suicide attacks.