Iraq

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Angelina Jolie: We Must Help Syria, Iraq Refugees

We're not doing nearly enough, actress writes

(Newser) - The suffering in the Middle East is the worst since Angelina Jolie first started visiting refugee camps in Iraq in 2007, she writes in a New York Times column today. She tells stories of "displaced Iraqis and Syrian refugees are desperately seeking shelter from the fighting that has convulsed... More »

Kerry: We've Killed Half of ISIS' Leaders

Thousands of militants killed, he says after coalition meeting

(Newser) - The US and its allies sought to put a good face on the coalition's deliberate campaign to roll back ISIS yesterday, boasting of having killed thousands of militants while acknowledging that ousting the group from key cities remains a distant aspiration. Speaking to reporters in London alongside the British... More »

'They Did Bad Things:' ISIS Releases 200 Yazidis

Mostly elderly, in poor health, showing signs of abuse

(Newser) - The Islamic State group released about 200 Yazidis held for five months in Iraq, mostly elderly, infirm captives who likely slowed the extremists down, Kurdish military officials said today. Almost all of the freed prisoners are in poor health and bore signs of abuse and neglect. Three were young children.... More »

Saudis Building Anti-ISIS 'Great Wall'

600-mile barrier on Iraq border designed to keep militants out, Mecca safe

(Newser) - If ISIS wants to infiltrate Mecca and Medina (Muhammad's burial location), it may have to find another way in other than crossing the Iraqi border. Since September, Saudi Arabia has quietly been erecting a 600-mile east-west barrier between itself and its northern neighbor, the Christian Science Monitor reports. The... More »

Victims Face 'Terrorists' on Reality TV Show

But Iraqi program raises ire of human-rights activists

(Newser) - A popular Iraqi reality TV show depicts victims of ISIS attacks facing apparent terrorists who confess for the cameras—a "surreal" program designed to shore up interest in the war against Sunni militants, the AP reports. Amid cartoons, PSAs, and dozens of other pro-war programs, In the Grip of ... More »

Western Journo Visits ISIS: It's 'Much Stronger' Than We Think

'Hundreds' arrive daily to join group: Jürgen Todenhöfer

(Newser) - The first Western journalist to receive wide access to ISIS-controlled territories says the group is "much stronger and much more dangerous" than the West knows, the Independent reports. The ground it controls has "dimensions larger than the UK," Jürgen Todenhöfer, who has returned to Germany... More »

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 »

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