Iraq

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Kurds Break ISIS Mountain Siege

Yazidis still on Sinjar can now flee

(Newser) - Iraqi Kurdish forces battling ISIS militants managed to open up a key corridor yesterday so that thousands of people from the country's Yazidi minority who have been trapped on a mountain can flee, a senior Kurdish official says. The development was an incremental step in the battle to retake... More »

Pentagon: Iran Bombed ISIS Targets in Iraq

But they're not welcome to join coalition, US says

(Newser) - Iran has launched airstrikes against ISIS militants in eastern Iraq, according to the Pentagon. Rear Adm. John Kirby says the US believes this may be the first time Tehran has launched manned aircraft from inside Iran to strike targets in Iraq. The Pentagon spokesman says the US has not coordinated... More »

Iraq Army Finds 50K 'Ghost Soldiers'

Corrupt officers claimed their salaries, PM says

(Newser) - Investigators in Iraq have uncovered one of the reasons some military units seemed to melt away in the face of ISIS advances earlier this year: Many of their soldiers didn't exist. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi told lawmakers yesterday that 50,000 fake names were uncovered on military payrolls when... More »

80% of Terrorism Deaths Occur in 5 Countries

Global Terrorism Index shows big jump overall from last year

(Newser) - If it feels like deadly attacks by terror groups such as the Islamic State are in the headlines every day, new numbers from the Global Terrorism Index might explain why. The survey attributes about 18,000 deaths last year to terrorism, a rise of 60% from the previous year, reports... More »

Top US General Makes Surprise Visit to Iraq

Martin Dempsey there to assess fight against ISIS

(Newser) - America's top military leader arrived in Iraq today on a previously unannounced visit, his first since a US-led coalition began launching airstrikes against the extremist Islamic State group. The visit by Army Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff, came just two days after he... More »

Iraqi Officials: ISIS Leader Wounded in Airstrike

Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was hurt, they say, without elaborating

(Newser) - Iraqi officials said today that an airstrike wounded the leader of the Islamic State group, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi—but Pentagon officials say they have no immediate information on such a strike or al-Baghdadi being wounded. Iraq's Defense and Interior Ministries issued statements saying al-Baghdadi had been wounded, without elaborating.... More »

Airstrikes Likely Hit ISIS Bosses: Officials

Unclear whether top figure was among them

(Newser) - US airstrikes have hit a convoy of trucks which, officials believe, were carrying some ISIS leaders, US officials tell the AP . Rumors have suggested that the group's top figure, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, may have been among the leaders, the New York Times reports; neither Iraqi nor US officials could... More »

Obama Doubles US Presence in Iraq

Authorizes 1.5K more troops for non-combat roles against ISIS

(Newser) - The US is about to double the number of American troops serving in Iraq, reports the Washington Post . President Obama has authorized deployment of another 1,500, though their mission will be to advise and train Iraqi and Kurdish troops in the fight against ISIS, not take part in combat.... More »

Jihadists' New Method of Travel: Cruise Ships

Interpol wants cruise lines to take advantage of its database

(Newser) - Not all cruise ship passengers are hoping for a nice holiday. According to Interpol, would-be jihadists are now using cruise ships as a way of eventually getting to Iraq and Syria. The mode of transportation allows them to both avoid more tightly monitored airports and hop off at any number... More »

One by One, ISIS Executes 50 Men, Women, Kids

Continues public executions of Sunni tribe in Iraq's Anbar Province

(Newser) - Islamic State group extremists lined up and publicly shot dead at least 40 Iraqi tribesmen, six women, and four children today, officials said, the latest mass slaying by militants who have killed some 150 members of the tribe in recent days. The killings target the Sunni Al Bu Nimr tribe... More »

US to Screen Long-Ignored Iraq Vets for Chemical Exposure

Pentagon orders medical exams, monitoring for troops exposed in Iraq

(Newser) - Beginning in early 2015, the Pentagon will offer medical exams and health monitoring for US troops and veterans exposed to chemical weapons in Iraq, the New York Times reports. The new measure comes as part of a review from Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel after a Times investigation earlier this month... More »

1st US Serviceman Dead in ISIS Mission

Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal died in 'noncombat' incident

(Newser) - Washington may not have "boots on the ground" in Iraq, but it still recorded the first death of a serviceman in the fight against ISIS—19-year-old Marine Lance Cpl. Sean Neal, the Washington Post reports. The California native reportedly died in Baghdad in what the Pentagon is calling a... More »

ISIS Used Chlorine Against Iraqi Cops: Report

Patients in Syria suffer after possible chemical weapon attack

(Newser) - On the heels of reports that ISIS militants are learning to fly fighter jets , Iraqi officials say the group has also used chemical weapons—specifically, chlorine gas. Eleven Iraqi police officers were hospitalized on Sept. 15 after being poisoned by the stuff, according to doctors, and the officers say ISIS... More »

4 Blackwater Guards Convicted in Deadly Iraq Shooting

Security contractors found guilty in infamous 2007 incident

(Newser) - Four former Blackwater security contractors were convicted today in federal court for a 2007 mass shooting in Baghdad that left Iraqi civilians dead, the AP reports. (Some accounts cite an original death toll of 14, but the BBC notes that an Iraqi investigation later raised the total to 17; about... More »

Chemical Weapons Found in Iraq Were Kept Secret

NYT : Troops who served in Iraq allege serious injuries, incompetence

(Newser) - US troops headed into Iraq more than a decade ago to hunt down weapons of mass destruction, but they found something else instead: massive numbers of chemical weapons, which injured soldiers and prompted a possible Pentagon cover-up, the New York Times reports. In a stunning narrative based on interviews and... More »

ISIS Takes Army Camp, Baghdad Bombings Kill 30

Islamic State closer to controlling Anbar province

(Newser) - Militants with the Islamic State group today captured a military training camp in western Iraq, inching closer to full control of the restive Anbar province, as a spate of deadly bombings shook Baghdad, hitting mostly Shiite neighborhoods and leaving at least 30 dead. The attacks, which came as Iraqi Shiites... More »

ISIS' New Weapon: Water

Insurgents commandeering precious commodity to strengthen position

(Newser) - Even when ISIS militants can't maintain control of Iraq's cities and villages, they have another weapon at their disposal: water. The insurgents are increasingly cutting off water to villagers, extorting local governments, and flooding homes, schools, and farms in an effort to gain the upper hand by usurping... More »

McCain Slaps Obama: We Predicted Rise of ISIS

'Of course' we are at war, says senator

(Newser) - In a 60 Minutes interview last night , President Obama asserted that the US had "underestimated" the looming threat posed by ISIS, but John McCain strongly disagrees. "We predicted what would happen if we didn't leave residual force [in Iraq]," McCain tells CNN . "His intelligence comments—... More »

Khorasan Is the Terror Group to Worry About

Officials point to danger at home from al-Qaeda cell

(Newser) - More than a third of the 22 US airstrikes in Syria weren't aimed at ISIS. Instead, they targeted a lesser-known al-Qaeda cell known as the Khorasan Group—an organization that some US officials see as a "more direct threat" to the West than ISIS, the New York Times ... More »

NY Man Was ISIS Recruiter: Federal Indictment

Mufid Elfgeeh also charged with plotting to kill US troops back from Iraq

(Newser) - A man from Rochester, NY, was indicted yesterday on charges of attempting to help three people (two of them FBI informants) travel to Syria to take up arms with ISIS, reports the LA Times . The Justice Department statement further alleges that Mufid Elfgeeh sent $600 to a potential recruit in... More »

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