20 August 2017
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More than 50 people have been killed in a string of suicide car bomb attacks in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, and the southern province of Basra, police have told Al Jazeera. At least 33 people were killed on Friday in two separate blasts at checkpoints on a highway near oilfields in Basra, according to police. The first explosion took place at the Rumeila checkpoint, and the second around one kilometre away at another checkpoint called al-Sadra. Iraq's South Oil Company said…
Iraq's Sunni minority is pushing for a greater say in power once the Islamic State group is defeated, reflecting growing sentiment that the country's government must be more inclusive to prevent extremism from gaining ground once again. But so far, there's little momentum. Many Shiite politicians are wary, and the Sunni leadership is divided and disorganized. On the ground, tensions are further stoked because Shiite militias and Kurdish fighters control some mainly Sunni areas recaptured from IS militants and are…
The battle to dislodge Islamic State from the Old City of Mosul, where hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians are trapped, could turn into the worst humanitarian catastrophe in the war against the militants, the United Nations warned on Tuesday. About 400,000 civilians, or a quarter of Mosul's pre-war population, are trapped in the Old City, according to U.N. estimates. As many as half a million are estimated to remain overall in neighborhoods still under IS control in western Mosul.…
A representative of prominent Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr in Baghdad, Ibrahim al-Jabri, said on Friday that former Iraqi Prime Minister “Nouri al-Maliki is behind the current crises that have hit Iraq,” adding: “Maliki handed over several Iraqi provinces to ISIS.” Jabri said “Maliki cannot do anything about the suffering of the Iraqi people because he caused the suffering and the killing of our sons by security forces at the Speicher base.” Camp Speicher, officially known as the Tikrit Air Academy,…
13 April 2017 – Using satellite imagery and local researches, the most recent evaluation confirms that western Mosul has undergone extensive destruction, “far greater than in the east,” according to a senior United Nations aid official in the country. “The level of damage in western Mosul is already far greater than in the east, even before the battle to retake the Old City begins,” said Lise Grande, Humanitarian Coordinator for Iraq, in a news release issued by the UN Office for the…
Iraqi forces are making progress in their offensive to expel Islamic State from Mosul but face a "very complicated" urban battle as the militants hide in mosques, homes and hospitals, a U.S. general told Reuters on Wednesday. Government forces have retaken much of Iraq's second-largest city since January but have been trying since then to dislodge the Sunni Muslim militants from the densely populated Old City in western Mosul, their last Iraqi stronghold. "Iraqi security forces continue to progress as…
Iraqi forces are making progress in their offensive to expel Islamic State from Mosul but face a "very complicated" urban battle as the militants hide in mosques, homes and hospitals, a U.S. general told Reuters on Wednesday. Government forces have retaken much of Iraq's second-largest city since January but have been trying since then to dislodge the Sunni Muslim militants from the densely populated Old City in western Mosul, their last Iraqi stronghold. "Iraqi security forces continue to progress as…
UN chief Antonio Guterres visited Iraq on Thursday, calling for protecting civilians to be the “absolute priority” as hundreds of thousands are caught up in the battle to retake Mosul. More than 200,000 people have fled west Mosul since the operation to oust the Islamic State group began last month, and officials and witnesses say that air strikes have taken a devastating toll on civilians who remained in the city. “Just arrived in Iraq to focus on the dire humanitarian…
Powerful Shia leader demands changes to electoral law at Baghdad demonstration attended by thousands of supporters. Influential religious leader Muqtada al-Sadr has told thousands of supporters in Iraq's capital, Baghdad, that he will boycott upcoming elections unless the country's electoral law is changed. Supporters of the Shia cleric have repeatedly rallied for changes to the law and the country's electoral committee, which is dominated by affiliates of powerful political parties. If "the law remains ... this means that we will…
More than 65,000 fled their homes in the past two weeks as Iraqi fighters push into the city's densely populated west. Iraqi forces battling ISIS/ISIL faced tough resistance from snipers and mortar rounds on Monday as they tried to advance on Mosul's Old City and a bridge across the Tigris River in their campaign to retake it. Progress was slowed by heavy rain but units were only 100 metres from the Iron Bridge that connects the Old City with the…
The sight and sounds of combat were evident in western Mosul on Tuesday as heavy fighting resumed. As Iraqi government forces continue their offensive to oust the self-proclaimed Islamic State from the northern city, military leaders say it’s only a matter of time till ISIL’s last major stand in the country is crushed. The renewed fighting has focused on a bridge over the River Tigris. Troops advanced to within 100 metres but were slowed by sniper fire from gunmen positioned…

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