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Iraq Begins Fight to Retake What ISIS Grabbed

New operation begins in Anbar province

(Newser) - Details remain scarce, but Iraq today announced that it has started a military operation aimed at pushing ISIS out of Anbar province, home to the provincial capital of Ramadi—which ISIS seized less than two weeks ago even as coalition airstrikes rained down around them. In high-profile comments Sunday, Defense... More »

Iraq Loses Control of Western Border

ISIS miltants seize key border crossings

(Newser) - Islamic State of Iraq and Syria fighters have taken another step toward making their name a reality with the weekend seizure of two key border crossings in western Iraq. Though the news that they took four key towns (Qaim, Rutba, Rawa, and Anah) in two days was reported yesterday, the... More »

Al-Qaeda: 'We Declare Fallujah an Islamic State'

It's another sign that Syrian war is affecting entire region

(Newser) - Battles are raging today in Fallujah and Ramadi, the two biggest cities in Iraq's Anbar province, between government troops and Sunni militants under the banner of the al-Qaeda-linked Syrian rebel faction known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria. After days of fighting—which began when Nouri al-Maliki... More »

Iraq Insurgents Hold Police Hostage

Mayor also held captive following break-in, suicide attack in al-Baghdadi

(Newser) - Insurgents have stormed an Iraqi police station and taken police and officials—including the town’s mayor—hostage. Insurgents poured into the western town’s station disguised as police and opened fire; one insurgent detonated a suicide bomb, officials tell the AP . The officials taken hostage were working in offices... More »

Wave of Bombings Kills 61 in Iraq

Shiites, Muqtada al-Sadr's office targeted

(Newser) - Bombs exploded throughout Baghdad today, targeting Shiite mosques and neighborhoods, including the office of anti-US cleric Muqtada al-Sadr. A neighborhood in Anbar province was also hit with six roadside bombs. At least 61 people have been killed and nearly 112 wounded, CNN reports. More »

23 Killed in Twin Iraq Bombings

Suicide attack targets Anwar province governor

(Newser) - At least 23 are dead and 30 are wounded in the Iraqi city of Ramadi in twin bombings today that targeted the governor of Anbar province, the Daily Telegraph reports. A car bomb exploded near a security checkpoint by the governor's offices, and 30 minutes later a suicide bomber on... More »

Taliban Scarier Than Iraq Enemy

(Newser) - Taliban forces in Afghanistan are bolder, better organized, and more tenacious than the deadliest Iraqi insurgents, a war-hardened Marine told the New York Times. “In Iraq, they’d hit you and run,” said Sgt. Jacob Tambunga, who spent three tours fighting in Anbar Province. “But these guys... More »

US Can Turn 70% of Afghan Taliban: Biden

Largest group of insurgents just hired mercenaries, VP says

(Newser) - A majority of the Taliban fighters in Afghanistan are just hired guns whose loyalties could be bought by the US, Joe Biden said today. “Five percent of the Taliban is incorrigible, not susceptible to anything other than being defeated,” the vice president said. “Another 25% or so... More »

US Hands Anbar Province to Iraqis

Military cedes control of largest region in Iraq

(Newser) - The American military is finally handing over control of Anbar province, once the center of the Sunni insurgency, to Iraqi forces today. Once one of Iraq's most dangerous regions, Anbar was transformed as Sunni militants allied themselves with the US. The transfer of Anbar, delayed several times, brings the number... More »

Fewer Marines Needed in Iraq's Anbar: General

Not many 'bad guys left' in province with Iraqi forces set to take over

(Newser) - The Marines’ top general says his two combat units in Iraq’s Anbar province could stand to be deployed elsewhere after the US hands over control there to Iraqi forces next week, the AP reports. “There aren't a whole heck of a lot of bad guys there left to... More »

Iraq's First Lady Survives Attack on Motorcade

Road bomb injures 4 guards, capping an especially bloody week

(Newser) - The wife of Iraqi President Jalal Talabani escaped injury after a roadside bomb hit her motorcade in Baghdad this morning. Hiro Ahmed Ibrahim was on her way to a cultural festival when the blast hit, injuring four of the first lady's bodyguards. It is unclear whether the attack was random... More »

US Bombs al-Qaeda Sites in Iraq

Strike was aimed at al-Qaeda safe havens north of Baghdad

(Newser) - US bombers and fighters dropped 40,000 pounds of explosives on al-Qaeda stronghold Arab Jabour, an agricultural area just north of Baghdad. The 10-minute strike flattened 40 targets ahead of ground troops as part of Operation Phantom Phoenix, a new offensive against al-Qaeda, the AP reports. Nine US troops have... More »

US Troops Rebuild With Old Enemies in Iraq

'Hard pill to swallow,' Marine says

(Newser) - Capt. Sean Miller keeps up an easy calm as he helps manage rebuilding efforts in Anbar province these days. But when an Iraqi contractor claimed he was promised money to bury Saddam's solders, the 32-year-old Marine captain lost it. "Those guys were trying to kill me,” Miller said.... More »

Gates Nixes Marine Shift to Afghanistan

Defense secretary says troops needed in still-volatile Iraq

(Newser) - Defense Secretary Robert Gates has rejected a proposal to shift Marine Corps soldiers from Iraq to Afghanistan, saying the situation is still too volatile in Iraq, reports the New York Times. The top general of the Marines met with Gates in Washington last week and presented a formal proposal to... More »

Sunni Chiefs Killed in Iraq Suicide Bomb

5 leaders in fight against al-Qaeda in Diyala province dead in blast

(Newser) - A suicide bomber detonated his vest in a meeting yesterday of anti-al-Qaeda Sunni chiefs, killing five leaders in the battle to drive al-Qaeda from Diyala province, in central Iraq. The bomb went off in the home of Sheikh Faez al-Obeidi, 30 miles north of Baghdad; killed were the sheikh and... More »

Shiites Foil US Plans for Sunni Cop Shops

Suspicion and 'highly sectarian' hiring thwart key US policy

(Newser) - Shiite officials are thwarting US attempts to train Sunni cops, crippling a key strategy aimed at slashing sectarian violence, the New York Times reports. Iraq has okayed Sunni neighborhood watch groups, but putting their old foes in uniform is another story. One US officer put it bluntly: Iraq officials "... More »

Iraqi al-Qaeda Group to Track Down 'Traitors'

Islamic State of Iraq vows to kill those who align with US

(Newser) - Thursday's assassination of a Sunni tribal leader was the first in what an al-Qaeda front group warns will be the fate of all who cooperate with the US, reports the AP. The Islamic State of Iraq announced on Islamist websites that "special security committees" will track down "traitors"... More »

Sunnis Vow to Strike Back After Death of Tribal Leader

'Revenge on al-Qaeda,' mourners shout

(Newser) - The killing of a prominent Iraqi tribal leader and US ally will be avenged, angry Sunnis promised today, a day after the sheik died in a bomb attack. Thousands of Iraqis joined the funeral procession for Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, shouting, “Revenge, revenge on al-Qaeda.” The assassination of... More »

Bush Vows Modest Pullback in Wake of 'Success'

'Endless military presence' slammed by Dems

(Newser) - President Bush announced that 24,000 troops will return home by July 2008 in an address to the nation in which he touted advancements in Iraq. He termed the reduction "a return on success" that could be squandered by larger withdrawals. Troops could still be added, however, so the... More »

Key US Ally in Iraq Killed in Bomb Attack

Sheik opposed Al-Qaeda, helped stabilize Anbar province

(Newser) - A key US ally in the fight against Al-Qaeda was killed in a bomb attack today in Ramadi. Abdul Sattar Abu Risha, the most influential of the Sunni leaders helping American and Iraqi forces fight the terror network, met with President Bush 2 weeks ago during his visit to Anbar... More »

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