Center for Strategic Communication

The Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (or Levant) used eight suicide bombers in a complex assault today that targeted police and local government officials in western Iraq. The Iraqi al Qaeda branch has deployed at least 22 suicide bombers in Iraq so far this month.

Today’s complex attack took place in the western Iraqi town of Rawa in Anbar province. Three members of Rawa’s local council and three policemen were killed in the attack, AFP reported.

“Two suicide bombers on foot and another driving a vehicle rigged with explosives attacked the police headquarters for the area, while another driving a vehicle hit an army checkpoint at the town’s entrance,” according to AFP. “Moreover, three other bombers on foot and another in a vehicle attacked the local administrative headquarters, where officials were meeting.”

The ISIS carried out a complex conventional assault in the area one month ago in the nearby town of Haditha. In that attack, a company of al Qaeda fighters mounted in trucks assaulted a military headquarters in Haditha as mortars rained down.

Today’s attack follows another similar operation by the ISIS in Bayji on Sept 21. In that attack, a four-man suicide assault team attacked a police special forces base in the city, killing seven policemen and wounding 20 more. The suicide bombers were able to enter the compound before either being shot or detonating their vests.

The ISIS has not had difficulty in recruiting and deploying suicide bombers in either Iraq or in Syria, where it is a dominant force in the insurgency against President’s Bashir al Assad’s embattled regime.

In addition to today’s suicide attacks in Rawa, the ISIS has deployed 12 suicide bombers in attacks across Iraq since the beginning of the month, according to a count by The Long War Journal. There was a suicide attack in Baghdad today that killed 35 people. Three bombers were used on Oct. 17; two on Oct. 6; two on Oct. 5; one on Oct. 4; and a three-person suicide assault team attacked Iraqi troops in Tikrit on Oct. 1.

Data for ISIS suicide bombings in Syria is difficult to obtain as the Al Nusrah Front for the People of the Levant and the Muhajireen Army, both al Qaeda groups that operate in the country, also conduct suicide attacks. There have been at least seven suicide attacks reported in Syria so far this month.

The ISIS has conducted numerous coordinated assaults on Iraqi security forces over the past year. The most prominent raid took place on July 21, when assault teams attacked prisons in Abu Ghraib and Taji. At least 26 policemen and prison guards were killed, while hundreds of prisoners, including many senior al Qaeda leaders, escaped. Many are still on the loose.

The ISIS continues to display its capacity to plan and execute coordinated operations against security facilities. These attacks are part of multiple ‘waves’ of al Qaeda’s “Destroying the Walls” campaign, which was announced by emir Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, who is also known as Abu Du’a, on July 21, 2012.