#AceNewsServices – BRITAIN (London) – October 04 – Several hundred people have staged a demonstration in Britain to express their resentment over the country’s involvement in the US-led air-strikes against positions of the ISIL Takfiri militants in Iraq.
The demonstrators marched in central London on Saturday, chanting slogans like “Hands off the Middle East, no justice, no peace.” They also held up placards reading “Stop bombing Iraq.”
The march came a day after ISIL terrorists released a grisly video purportedly showing the beheading of British hostage, Alan Henning.
Henning, an English taxi driver, was a member of a group of volunteers that traveled to Syria in December 2013 to distribute food and water to people affected by the country’s war.
According to his co-workers, he was abducted the day after Christmas by masked gunmen.
Britain launched its first air-strikes on positions and assets controlled by the ISIL on September 1; days after the UK parliament approved the use of air raids requested by the Iraqi government.
British anti-war campaigners are worried that the strikes may have a galvanizing effect on the ISIL’s recruitment.
#AceWorldNews – CZECHOSLOVAKIA – September 07 – The Czech Republic will supply Iraq’s Kurds with ammunition worth over US$2 million, Czech Foreign Minister Lubomir Zaoralek said in televised statement on Sunday.
As quoted by RIA Novosti.“Right after Iraq’s new government begins its work, which is planned for September 14, I will visit the country for talks on the supply of weapons, the first tranche of which has already been approved by the Czech government.
The cost of the first delivery is over 40 million korunas (or $2 million), but it is gratuitous on our part,” Zaoralek said.
On Wednesday, US Defence Secretary Chuck Hagel said that Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Croatia, Canada, and Albania will provide “arms and equipment” to Kurdistan, northern Iraq, which joined the central Baghdad government in the fight against Islamic State militants, formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIS/ISIL)
#AceWorldNews – AFGHANISTAN (Baghdad) – August 31 – Iraqi security forces and Shiite militiamen on Sunday broke a six-week siege imposed by the Islamic State extremist group on the northern Shiite Turkmen town of Amirli, following U.S. air-strikes against the Sunni militants’ positions, officials said with AP reporting.
Army spokesman Lt. Gen. Qassim al-Moussawi said the operation started at dawn Sunday and the forces entered the town shortly after midday.
#AceWorldNews – LONDON – June 15 – The former prime minister Tony Blair has rejected arguments that Iraq would be more stable and peaceful today if the US-backed war, which claimed the lives of 179 UK personnel, had not happened.
He claimed that the violent insurgency in Iraq is the result of the West’s failure to intervene in Syria, not of the 2003 invasion to topple Saddam Hussein.
Speaking on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show, Mr Blair said: "Even if you’d left Saddam in place in 2003, then when 2011 happened, and you had the Arab revolutions going through Tunisia and Libya and Yemen and Bahrain and Egypt and Syria, you would have still had a major problem in Iraq.
"Indeed, you can see what happens when you leave the dictator in place, as has happened with Assad now. The problems don’t go away."
He added: "So, one of the things I’m trying to say is, you know, we can rerun the debates about 2003, and there are perfectly legitimate points on either side but where we are now in 2014, we have to understand this is a regional problem, but it’s a problem that will affect us."
(An Iraqi civilian volunteering to fight ISIS kisses the Koran as he queues with comrades before boarding buses from the southern port city of Basra Photo: AFP)
15.48 The Iraqi government has defended its decision to request help from the US in fighting back against Isis.
A government spokesman said Iraq does not want others to do its fighting for it, but that it needs material assistance in improving its "capability" to fight.
"We have chosen the United States as our strategic partner," Iraqi Ambassador to the United States, Lukman Faily, told CNN.
“We don’t want others to come have the fight for us. We need the help of others to provide us with the capability for us to have that fight.”
15.38 As the Iraqi army faded away in the face of Isis’s offensive last week, tribal fighters have played an increasing role in the fightback against the Sunni militants.
Images today show militias in joint operations with Iraqi security forces, such as this security deployment on the outskirts of Diyala province, north-east of Baghdad:
#AceWorldNews – IRAQ (Ramadi) – Militants have stormed a university in the Iraqi city of Ramadi, briefly taking dozens of students and staff hostage before retreating under fire.
At least two people died in the attack, but officials said security forces were now back in control of the campus.
(The militants were said to be from the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant)
Saturday’s attack was the third major assault by insurgents in as many days following raids on Mosul in the north and the central city of Samarra.
Police said militants had infiltrated the campus in the early hours from the neighbouring al-Tasha district, blowing up a bridge to the university’s main gate.
Security personnel sealed off the campus and one Agence France-Presse reporter said special forces had led an assault.
One student, Ahmed al-Mehamdi, told the Associated Press news agency by telephone that he awoke to gunfire and saw armed men running across the campus.
The gunmen entered the dormitory and told everybody to stay in their rooms. Some students were taken to other buildings, he said, but others were trapped and “in panic”.
He said the gunmen had said they belonged to ISIS, a Sunni group which grew out of al-Qaeda’s Iraqi operation.
Later, he told AP he had managed to escape, and that “this crisis ended almost peacefully and no student was hurt as far as I know”.
BBC – AP
#AceNewsServices – BAGHDAD – May 27 – Iraqi government forces battling armed groups in the western province of Anbar since January 2014 have repeatedly struck Fallujah General Hospital with mortar shells and other munitions, Human Rights Watch said today.
The recurring strikes on the main hospital, including with direct fire weapons, strongly suggest that Iraqi forces have targeted it, which would constitute a serious violation of the laws of war.
Since early May, government forces have also dropped barrel bombs on residential neighbourhoods of Fallujah and surrounding areas, part of an intensified campaign against armed opposition groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Sham (ISIS).
These indiscriminate attacks have caused civilian casualties and forced thousands of residents to flee.
“The government has been firing wildly into Fallujah’s residential neighbourhoods for more than four months, and ramped up its attacks in May,” said Fred Abrahams, special adviser at Human Rights Watch. “This reckless disregard for civilians is deadly for people caught between government forces and opposition groups.”
The armed groups fighting against government forces in Anbar, including ISIS, say they have executed captured Iraqi soldiers. ISIS has also claimed responsibility for suicide and car bomb attacks against civilian targets in other parts of Iraq in response to the assault on Fallujah.
Human Rights Watch has found that ISIS abuses probably amount to crimes against humanity.
In Fallujah, ISIS has planted improvised explosive devices along the main highway and other parts of city, and is operating prisons in Fallujah and elsewhere, Fallujah residents said.
Six witnesses Human Rights Watch interviewed, three of them hospital staff, gave credible accounts of repeated strikes by government forces on Fallujah’s main hospital since January that have severely damaged buildings and injured patients and medical staff. An Iraqi government security officer based in Anbar, who spoke to Human Rights Watch on condition of anonymity, said government forces have targeted the hospital with mortars and artillery on 16 separate occasions.
The three hospital employees said mortar shells and projectiles had at various times struck the emergency room, the intensive care unit, the central air conditioning unit, a trailer that housed Bangladeshi hospital staff, and other parts of the hospital. The attacks injured four Bangladeshi workers, three Iraqi doctors, and an unknown number of patients, they said.
Ace Related News:
1. Human Rights Watch Report – 27/05/2014 – http://tinyurl.com/mzw9e8b
#AceWorldNews – WASHINGTON/LONDON – May 22 – US and British citizens in the southern Iraqi province of Basra may be at risk of kidnapping by militant groups, the US Embassy and British officials told Reuters
“Militant groups may be keeping US citizens under surveillance for possible kidnapping operations, particularly oil company employees working in Basra province,” the embassy said in a statement late on Wednesday.
“The groups may be focused on US citizens at hotels in the Basra area.” The British Foreign Office said on Thursday the US warning applied equally to its own citizens, particularly oil company employees working in Basra province.
#AceWorldNews – KABUL – May 19 – Prime Minister Nouri Maliki won the largest share of Iraqi parliamentary seats in last month’s national elections, Reuters reported.
Preliminary results on Monday showed Maliki won at least 93 seats, far more than his two main Shiite rivals.
The movement of Muqtada Sadr picked up 28 seats, and the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) won 29 seats. Maliki is waging a war with armed Sunni groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant.
Final results are expected in the coming few weeks, after Iraq’s electoral commission rules on complaints.
#AceWorldNews – BAGHDAD – May 04 – Militants have attacked a bus carrying pilgrims north of Baghdad, killing 11 people, while a family of eight was shot dead south of the capital, Iraqi officials said Sunday.
Another 11 people were killed in less than 24 hours by shelling in Fallujah, held by anti-government fighters for over four months, a doctor said on Sunday.
The shelling, which hit various areas in the city’s south, also wounded four people, Doctor Ahmed Shami said.
The bloodshed late Saturday comes during vote counting from the April 30 general election, the first since US troops withdrew in late 2011, and amid a protracted surge in nationwide unrest.
In the deadliest attack, a bombing and shooting targeting the bus of Shia pilgrims killed 11 people and wounded 21, police and a doctor said.
The pilgrims were returning from Samarra north of the capital, when a roadside bomb blast on the outskirts of the town of Balad was followed by gunmen opening fire on the bus.
The worshippers had been holding commemoration rituals to mark the death of Imam Ali al-Hadi, the 10th of 12 imams who are key to the Shia faith.
His body lies in a venerated shrine in Samarra that also houses his son Hassan al-Askari, the 11th imam.
Funerals for the victims were held on Sunday in southern Maysan province, an AFP journalist said.
AFP – Contributions from (Al-Alkabar)
#AceNewsServices – BAGHDAD – Iraqis braved the threat of bombs and attacks to vote Wednesday in key elections for a new parliament amid a massive security operation as the country slides deeper into sectarian strife.
Hundreds of thousands of troops and police fanned out to protect the first nationwide balloting since the 2011 American pull-out.
Scattered attacks still took place north of Baghdad, killing at least five people, including two women, and wounding 16.
Baghdad looked like a deserted city, with police and soldiers manning checkpoints roughly 500 yards apart and pick-up trucks mounted with machine-guns roaming streets that were otherwise devoid of the usual traffic jams.
Stores were closed, and many voters had to walk for miles to the polls after authorities banned civilian vehicles to prevent car bombs. Others demanded a lift from army or police checkpoints.
Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has held power for eight years, faces growing criticism over government corruption and persistent bloodshed as sectarian tensions threaten to push Iraq back toward the brink of civil war.
(Al-Arabiya) Reported that the polls have closed in the parliamentary election in Iraq in what was the first ballot since the withdrawal of U.S. troops in 2011.
There was a low turnout on Wednesday as fresh waves of violence continued across the country.
While twenty-two million Iraqis were eligible to vote, turnout was around 60 percent, reported Agence France-Presse.
Iraqis are electing 328 parliament members from more than 9,000 candidates.
Election officials did not confirm a time schedule for the release of the results, but they were expected to trickle in during the coming days.
Fox News – Al-Arabiya – AFP – Reuters
#AceWorldNews – BAGHDAD – April 07 – Iraqi Security Forces have killed 19 militants, while three others were killed in violence across the country on Monday, as unrest spreads ahead of parliamentary elections on April 30.
Iraqi police and soldiers killed 19 militants in clashes south of Baghdad as well as in the conflict hit western cities of Ramadi and Fallujah.
Authorities also found the corpses of two men in different areas of Baghdad and a policeman was gunned down north of the capital.
The polls on April 30 are the first since 2010 and come amid the worst sustained period of violence since 2008.
The blood-letting is driven by a brutal Sunni-Shia Sectarian war that has already killed more than 2,400 people this year.
#AceWorldNews – ABU DHABI – March 28 – At least 44 Iraqi security forces were killed in clashes with the armed tribal groups in western Baghdad, the channel Al Jazeera reports.
A few officers of the regular army are among the dead.
On the causes of the military clash and the casualties among armed tribal group are not reported.
#AceWorldNews – IRAQ – March 28 – A triple bombing has struck a busy market area in northern Baghdad, killing four people, Iraqi authorities said.
The three bombs went off almost simultaneously at the entrance of the market in the city’s Sulaikh district, AP reported.
The explosions also wounded 16 people. Friday’s attacks came a day after a series of attacks targeting commercial areas killed 26 people http://wp.me/p165ui-4zd
#AceWorldNews says Israel decided Sunday to end a decades-old policy of issuing gas masks to the public. Since Israel was hit by Iraqi Scud-Missiles in the 1991 Gulf War the authorities have handed out gas masks, although in recent years Syria’s chemical arsenal was of greater concern. That changed when Syrian President Bashar al Assad agreed last year to give up his chemical weapons stockpile. The distribution of masks to the public will stop by February, after which they will be given to the rescue services only.
#AceWorldNews says Jordan is ready to host a US training program set to train Iraqi troops. “This project is part of permanent cooperation between Jordan, Iraq and the United States to fight against terrorism in the region,” the country’s information minister, Mohammed Momani, told AFP. The statement comes as Iraqi soldiers are locked in fighting with insurgents who gained ground in Anbar province west of Baghdad.
#AceWorldNews says Iraq has warned that it will take legal and other measures to punish Turkey and Iraqi Kurdistan, as well as foreign companies, for any involvement in Kurdish exports of “smuggled” oil without Baghdad’s consent. The Iraqi oil minister, Abdul Kareem Luaibi, said the government was preparing legal action against Ankara, Reuters reported. Baghdad also said it would blacklist any companies dealing with oil piped to Turkey from Iraq’s autonomous northern region without permission from the central government in Baghdad.