By: ISW Iraq Team, Sinan Adnan
ISIS has escalated its attacks on Baquba, the capital city of Diyala Province, at a time when Iraqi Shi’a militias and Iraqi Security Forces (ISF) are preparing to launch an assault to clear ISIS from the last area under its control in Diayala province. This area extends from the main area of Muqdadiyah district north and northeast towards the Hamrin Lake. ISIS consolidated control over this agricultural area following its defeat in the nearby Sadia, Jalula, and the Hamrin Ridge in November of 2014. The area has recently been used by ISIS as a launching pad for intense indirect fire attacks on Muqdadiyah to the south, causing a major disruption of daily life in the area and a public outcry. This coming operation will likely be the main effort for the militias, at least in Diyala, and will almost certainly be led by the leader of Badr Organization, Hadi al-Ameri, who is the de facto head of security of Diyala. It will be important to watch if Iraqi Sunni tribal fighters from the Jubur and Izza tribes in Diyala participate in this operation as has been reported by a local official from the province.