ISIS fighters stormed a government compound last week in the Kirkuk attack. It was a coordinated attack carried out around a 100 miles from Mosul where the actual battle is taking place.
But, it has been observed that ISIS has been inventing novel tactics while launching diversions along its caliphate. There are fears that ISIS has a few dreadful surprises in store for the Iraqi army and it allied militias as they inch towards Mosul.
Mosul is the last urban stronghold of the extremist group in Iraq. The Kirkuk attack was carried out by dozens of militants who were apparently part of a sleeper cell. While, they struck several targets simultaneously confusing the security forces in the city. At least 80 people lost their lives in the attack.
At the same time, ISIS launched another attack in the western town of Rutba which is also hundreds of miles from Mosul.
Attacks on Civilians
After suffering losses on battlefields, ISIS is carrying out increasing attacks on civilians. This includes suicide attacks against soft targets and bombings. Most of these attacks on civilians have been carried out in and around the city of Baghdad.
ISIS is trying to convey a message to its supporters that the struggle is going to continue despite the current losses. Since it is widely outnumbered and outgunned in Mosul, there is a possibility that it will resort to attacks on civilians even more.
Dangers in Iraq
Kirkuk attack may have been a preview of what is to come. There is every possibility that Baghdad will become a target of a series of attacks. There are real dangers in Iraq. ISIS has sleepers all over Iraq who might be activated if the group loses Mosul.
No doubt, ISIS strategy is very clear from the Kirkuk attack. It wants to increase tension between the various parties in the alliance against the group.
However, Kirkuk has been at the center of the territorial dispute between the government in Iraq and the Kurds in the north. The Iraqi army has been deployed in the area after 25 years.
Kurds are not interested in Mosul. They are more interested in the city of Kirkuk. But due to the battle in Mosul, the Kurds are not able to divert their forces in order to defend the city.
The US army has stated that ISIS is putting a stiff resistance in Mosul. Combined with events like the Kirkuk attack, the battle for Mosul can become more complicated.