Al-Jazeerah: Cross-Cultural Understanding
News, December 2014
100s of Iraqis, Syrians Killed in US Air Strikes on Islamic State Fighters, IS-Iraqi Forces Battle North of Baghdad,
December 7, 2014
Attack on police station in Iraq kills 9 people
By SINAN SALAHEDDIN
December 7, 2014
Militants attacked a police station in an Iraqi village north of Baghdad, killing at least nine people Sunday, officials said.
The attack started at dawn with a suicide car bomber hitting the blast walls that surround the police station in the village of al-Salman outside the town of Tarmiyah, a police officer said. He said an assault by armed militants followed.
He said the attack killed five police officers and four civilians, while wounding 11 people.
Two medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release the information.
Tarmiyah is about 50 kilometers (30 miles) north of Baghdad.
No group immediately claimed responsibility for the attack. Iraqi forces, backed by U.S.-led airstrikes, are fighting the extremist Islamic State group, which now controls about a third of the country.
The attack came a day after a string of bombings targeting Shiite areas around Baghdad killed 10 people amid tight security measures to protect Shiite pilgrims heading to the holy city of Karbala to attend the religious commemoration known as Arbaeen.
The event, which draws hundreds of thousands of Shiite pilgrims, marks the passing of 40 days after the anniversary of the seventh century martyrdom of the revered Shiite saint Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
Associated Press writer Murtada Faraj contributed to this report.
Over 100 Islamic State Fighters Killed in US Airstrikes in Iraq; Attack on Syria Base Repelled
By Juan Cole
December 7, 2014
The US war on Islamic State (IS) fighters in Iraq and Syria takes up less and less space in the MSM. The group and its issues haven’t gone away, however.
A source in Iraqi security told AFP Arabic that US and allied air strikes had killed about 100 fighters near Mosul on Saturday. The fighter jets concentrated on weapons depots and medium and heavy weapons (tanks, armored vehicles), but it is being alleged that they hit a IS military HQ, accounting for the large casualty count..
In Ramadi west of Baghdad, Daesh ambushed Iraqi troops sent out to deal with them, and had set roadside bombs as part of the ambush. Still, the Iraqi Air Force bombed Daesh positions inside Mosul on Saturday.
Meanwhile the Kurdistan Peshmerga or paramilitary is planning an attack Talafar, a largely Turkmen town in the north, and kick Daesh (ISIL) our of it. Turkmen are split between Sunni and Shiite, with the Sunnis having been Baathists for the most part. These latter are now often supporting fundamentalist forces. The US had ethnically cleansed Talafar of its Sunni Turkmen, creating a Shiite majority. But when Daesh conquered the city this summer, many Shiite Turkmen were forced to flee.
The US and coalition air strikes on Saturday hit IS positions around Talafar in the north, presumably to soften them up in preparation for the Peshmerga advance.
In Syria, IS fighters tried to take a military base in Deir al-Zor in the east of the country, and as of this writing appears to have failed. The Syrian army rallied to push the fundamentalists back.
Islamic State executes Shi'ite militia fighters north of Baghdad
BAGHDAD Sun Dec 7, 2014, 9:45am EST
Islamic State fighters executed 12 Shi’ite militiamen north of Baghdad after heavy fighting for control of a rural village, security sources said on Sunday.
Army and police officials said Iraqi security forces and the Shi'ite militia fighters launched an attack on Friday against Islamic State militants on Tal al-Dhahab, near the town of Balad, 80 km (50 miles) north of the Iraqi capital.
They managed to drive the militants from their base in Tal al-Dhahab police station on Friday, but hours later the Islamic State fighters returned and surrounded it, trapping dozens of security forces and militiamen inside.
"Supporting troops with cover from army helicopter reached the area and managed to break the siege. We have confirmation from our sources that 12 volunteer fighters were executed on Saturday,” said an army intelligence officer on condition of anonymity.
Balad's mayor, Amir Abdul Hadi, confirmed that some of the Shi’ite militiamen were executed by Islamic State near Balad and others were missing after Friday's battle, but said he did not have details. Officials said 10 militiamen were missing.
Sources at Balad hospital said they had received at least six bodies of militia fighters believed to have been killed in the first wave of fighting on Friday.
Balad, which houses a shrine to a revered Shi'ite imam, is one of several towns north of Baghdad which has seen heavy fighting between Islamic State fighters, who control large parts of north and west Iraq, and Iraqi security forces and pro-government Shi'ite militia.
Security and local officials said more Shi’ite militia fighters were gathering in Balad to try to drive out Islamic State militants from areas surrounding the town.
"We have asked the residents to stock food and basic material to prepare for an imminent military operation against the terrorists around Balad," one official said.
In the town of Tarmiya, between Balad and Baghdad, militants detonated a car bomb overnight at a security checkpoint before attacking with guns. Five police and three civilians were killed, security and medical sources said.
(Reporting by Ahmed Rasheed; Editing by Dominic Evans)
Car bomb attacks kill 37 people in Iraq
By SAMEER N. YACOUB
December 4, 2014 2:08 PM
BAGHDAD (AP) —
A string of car bomb attacks across Iraq killed at least 37 people on Thursday, Iraqi officials said. Three of the attacks targeted Shiite districts in the capital, Baghdad, while the fourth targeted a Kurdish neighborhood in the oil-rich northern city of Kirkuk.
Police officials said the first attack targeted a line of small restaurants in the Shiite district of Sadr City Thursday night, killing 11 people and wounding 25 others.
Minutes later, a second car bomb blast near an outdoor market in the same district killed seven people and wounded 21 others.
Later on, a bomb exploded near a restaurant in Baghdad's Shiite northern neighborhood of Shaab, killing three people and wounding 12 others.
In the oil-rich city of Kirkuk, a car bomb attack near a cafe killed 16 people, said deputy chief of the Kirkuk police, Maj. Gen. Torhan Abdul-Rahman Youssef.
The blast took place in a Kurdish district in the city, 290 kilometers (180 miles) north of Baghdad.
Medics in a nearby hospital confirmed the causalities. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
Iraq sees near-daily bombings and other attacks mainly targeting Shiite neighborhoods and security forces. The attacks are often claimed by the Sunni extremist Islamic State group which seized much of northern and western Iraq in a summer offensive.
Associated Press writers Murtada Faraj in Baghdad and Imad Matti in Kirkuk contributed to this report.
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