Latest Iraq news

Canada foreign minister - we'll be in Iraq for the longer term

Canadian forces will be involved in Iraq for the longer term, Foreign Minister Rob Nicholson hinted on Thursday in remarks ma…

  • Kerry tries to reassure Iran's Gulf rivals on nuclear talks
    Kerry tries to reassure Iran's Gulf rivals on nuclear talks 1 hour 17 minutes ago

    By Arshad Mohammed RIYADH (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry told Gulf Arab states on Thursday Washington was not seeking a "grand bargain" with Iran, and said a nuclear deal with Tehran would be in their interests. The United State's Gulf allies, particularly the Sunni Muslim kingdom of Saudi Arabia, are concerned that Shi'ite Iran will gain from any agreement to end years of dispute over its nuclear ambitions. "Even as we engage in these discussions with Iran around its nuclear programme, we will not take our eye off of Iran's other destabilising actions in places like Syria, Lebanon, Iraq and the Arabian peninsula, Yemen particularly," Kerry said after meeting Saudi King Salman and Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal. More »

  • IRAQ 1 hour 34 minutes ago

    Iraq launches operation to retake Tikrit. Map shows the area of the attack.; 2c x 3 inches; 96.3 mm x 76 mm; More »

  • Islamic State torches oil field near Tikrit as militia advance
    Islamic State torches oil field near Tikrit as militia advance 2 hours 14 minutes ago

    By Saif Hameed and Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Islamic State militants have set fire to oil wells northeast of the city of Tikrit to obstruct an assault by Shi'ite militiamen and Iraqi soldiers trying to drive them from the Sunni Muslim city and surrounding towns, a witness said. The witness and a military source said Islamic State fighters ignited the fire at the Ajil oil field to shield themselves from attack by Iraqi military helicopters. The offensive is the biggest Iraqi forces have yet mounted against IS, which has declared an Islamic caliphate on captured territory in Iraq and Syria and spread fear across the region by slaughtering Arab and Western hostages and killing or kidnapping members of religious minorities like Yazidis and Christians. Black smoke could be seen rising from the oil field since Wednesday afternoon, said the witness, who accompanied Iraqi militia and soldiers as they advanced on Tikrit from the east. More »

  • Outgoing UN envoy sees hope for Iraq
    Outgoing UN envoy sees hope for Iraq 2 hours 58 minutes ago

    Sectarianism is receding in Iraqi politics and hope is growing that the country can remain united, said Nickolay Mladenov, who left Thursday after 18 months as the top UN envoy. More »

  • Egypt puts over 200 on trial, accused of militant activity
    Egypt puts over 200 on trial, accused of militant activity 3 hours ago

    An Egyptian court opened the trial on Thursday of 213 suspected militants, including members of the army and police, on charges of joining Egypt's most active militant group and attempting to assassinate the interior minister, judicial sources said. Egypt has been grappling with rising Islamist militancy since then-army chief Abdel Fattah al-Sisi ousted freely elected President Mohamed Mursi of the Muslim Brotherhood in 2013 after mass protests against his rule. Hundreds of soldiers and policemen have been killed in deadly attacks claimed by the Sinai-based Ansar Bayt al-Maqdis group, which changed its name to Sinai Province after pledging allegiance to Islamic State, the hardline Sunni militant group that has seized swathes of Iraq and Syria. More »

  • Fleeing Tikrit residents fear no return as Iraqi forces close in 3 hours ago

    By Isabel Coles ERBIL, Iraq (Reuters) - As Iraqi forces close in, Tikrit's few remaining civilians are cutting up white clothes and fabric to make flags of surrender, fearing their Shi'ite liberators more than the Islamic State militants occupying the Sunni city. Most residents of Tikrit fled in the months after the extremist group took over in June. "Some people say they would rather die in their own homes," said 37-year-old Abu Saif, who sought refuge in Kirkuk after leaving Tikrit on Wednesday as security forces, Shi'ite militia known as the Hashid Shaabi and a small contingent of Sunni fighters advanced. "The situation is frightening," Abu Saif said. More »

  • British teacher jailed for trying to join Islamic State in Syria 3 hours ago

    A science teacher from northern England who supported Islamic State fighters in Syria before trying to go there himself has been jailed for six years. Jamshed Javeed, whose family hid his passport in an effort to stop him from travelling to Syria, was "determined to go through with his plans", Manchester police said in a statement on Thursday. The 30-year-old, who had taught at a secondary high school in Bolton, was last year convicted of terrorism offences after pleading guilty at a court in London to assisting others to commit acts of terrorism and preparing to travel to Syria. Security officials say some 500 Britons, most with Muslim immigrant backgrounds, are believed to be fighting in Iraq and Syria, though the true number could be much higher. More »

  • Saudi FM urges coalition to face IS challenge 'on the ground'
    Saudi FM urges coalition to face IS challenge 'on the ground' 4 hours ago

    Saudi Foreign Minister Prince Saud al-Faisal called Thursday on the US-led coalition conducting air strikes against the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq to fight the jihadists on the ground. More »

  • U.N. rights boss seeks campaign to 'discredit ISIL' 4 hours ago

    By Stephanie Nebehay GENEVA (Reuters) - The top United Nations human rights official called on Thursday for an international campaign to "discredit ISIL", and urged Muslims worldwide to defend their faith against misrepresentation by violent extremists. Zeid Ra'ad al-Hussein, U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights, denounced murders, torture, mass beheadings and "genocidal" attacks on minorities in Syria, Iraq and Libya by Islamic State, also known as ISIL. He noted that much media coverage in the West was devoted to Islamic State's abductions or killings of Westerners or Christian minorities. More »

  • Islamic State targeted in 12 air strikes by U.S., allies - statement 4 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. and coalition forces hit Islamic State with 12 air strikes in Syria and Iraq in the latest round of attacks on the militant group, the Joint Coalition Task Force said in a statement on Thursday. The latest strikes, which started Wednesday, targeted Islamic State tactical units and fighting positions near the Syrian cities of Al Hasaka, Kobani and Tal Hamis. In Iraq, the coalition attacked fighting positions and tactical units near Al Asad, Falluja and Mosul, as well as supporting allied forces near Haditha. (Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Susan Heavey) More »

  • Former City Worker 'Smashing' Islamic State
    Former City Worker 'Smashing' Islamic State 5 hours ago

    A former Young Conservative who gave up his City job to fight Islamist militants in Iraq has told Sky News he has had "amazing success" in fierce battles with Islamic State. 'Macer Gifford', who is operating under an assumed name, left in December to join the Kurdish People's Protection Unit (YPG) in northern Iraq, insisting he would not be taken alive by the enemy. We've taken a huge amount of land from ISIS (Islamic State) and had some amazing successes over the past week or so. The 28-year-old, who spoke to Sky News from the Iraqi town of Tel Hamis, claimed the fear and violence spread by IS was leading to inaction in the West and he felt he had to do something. More »

  • Iraq says Iran nuclear talks will lead to peaceful solution
    Iraq says Iran nuclear talks will lead to peaceful solution 8 hours ago

    GENEVA (Reuters) - Iraq believes that international negotiations on Iran's nuclear programme will lead to a peaceful outcome, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari said on Thursday. Jaafari told a United Nations-sponsored Conference on Disarmament in Geneva that developing countries had an inalienable right to use nuclear technology for peaceful purposes, under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency. "We believe these (talks) will lead to a peaceful solution and will resolve controversial points," Jaafari told the forum. ... More »

  • Turkish fighter jet crashes during training flight, two dead - military 9 hours ago

    By Tulay Karadeniz ANKARA (Reuters) - A Turkish warplane has crashed near the central Anatolian city of Konya, killing the two pilots aboard, the military said on Thursday, in the second fatal air accident for Turkey's armed forces in less than two weeks. The F-4E took off from Eskisehir airbase on a planned training flight at 0900 local time, and came down nearly an hour later, the Chief of Staff said in a statement. Turkey has the second largest military in NATO and its airforce has played an active role in patrolling its troubled borders with Syria and Iraq. More »

  • U.S. Vice President Biden, Iraq's Abadi discuss Tikrit fight
    U.S. Vice President Biden, Iraq's Abadi discuss Tikrit fight 21 hours ago

    U.S. Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Wednesday about the fight against Islamic State militants including the Iraqi-led operations in Tikrit, the White House said. The U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State militants has not played a role in the battle in Tikrit, the home town of executed Sunni president Saddam Hussein. Biden commended Abadi and Iraqi leaders for "building a national front before launching the ongoing operation near Tikrit," the White House said in a statement. More »

  • Insight - From eastern flank, Iran-backed force advances on Tikrit
    Insight - From eastern flank, Iran-backed force advances on Tikrit Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    By Thaier al-Sudani UDHAIM DAM, Iraq (Reuters) - Wearing military fatigues and a white turban, the Shi'ite cleric gave an eve-of-battle address to Iran-backed fighters preparing to attack Islamic State militants in Tikrit, praising them for defending their faith and urging them to fight honourably. Seated in front of him in rows, crossed-legged in the grass, were dozens of armed men from Iraq's largest Shi'ite militia, the Badr Organisation, the main element of a force now advancing on Tikrit's eastern flank against the Sunni Muslim Islamic State militants who now dominate most of northern Iraq. This week's multi-pronged attack is the biggest coordinated assault on the city, best known as the home town of executed Sunni president Saddam Hussein, since the radical Islamic State fighters seized it in June. More »

  • Civilians at risk in Iraq offensive, rights groups say
    Civilians at risk in Iraq offensive, rights groups say Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Rights groups expressed concern Wednesday that civilians were at great risk in the huge military operation the Iraqi government launched to retake the jihadist stronghold of Tikrit. More »

  • Battle for Tikrit: Iraqi forces and Shi'ite militia try to retake city from …
    Battle for Tikrit: Iraqi forces and Shi'ite militia try to retake city from … Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Iraqi forces, backed by Iranian-supported Shi'ite militias, have launched a large-scale offensive to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit from Islamic State (Isis). This is the first in a series of campaigns to try to reclaim large parts of northern Iraq from the Sunni extremists. The Tikrit campaign is a dress rehearsal for the real contest: the fight to recapture Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city and the extremists' biggest stronghold. Tikrit, the provincial capital of Salauhddin province, 80 miles (130km) north of Baghdad, fell to IS group in the summer of 2014, along with Mosul and other areas in the country's Sunni heartland. More »

  • Iraq says it alone will decide on Mosul offensive
    Iraq says it alone will decide on Mosul offensive Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Iraq's defence minister said on Wednesday only Baghdad will decide the time and scale of an attack recapture Mosul, after U.S. officials sent conflicting signals about the offensive. Mosul is the largest city under the control of Islamic State insurgents who have declared a cross-border caliphate encompassing eastern Syria and parts of western and northern Iraq. Its recapture would be a pivotal victory for Baghdad. A U.S. Central Command official said two weeks ago that the offensive could start in April or May, using 20,000 to 25,000 troops. More »

  • British citizen fighting with Kurds killed in Syria
    British citizen fighting with Kurds killed in Syria Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    IRBIL, Iraq (AP) — A British citizen fighting alongside Kurdish forces against the Islamic State group has been killed in Syria, a Kurdish commander said Wednesday. More »

  • Iraq forces working to encircle ISIL in Tikrit
    Iraq forces working to encircle ISIL in Tikrit Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Forces still moving in from three directions, despite being slowed by suicide bombers, sniper fire and booby traps. More »

  • Islamic State targeted in 12 air strikes by U.S., coalition - statement Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its allies staged 12 air strikes on Islamic State targets in Iraq and Syria in a 24-hour period, the Combined Joint Task Force said in a statement on Wednesday. Three strikes near Kobani, Syria, hit a tactical unit and destroyed five fighting positions while in Iraq, five air strikes hit Islamic State bomb-making facilities, a weapons storage site and vehicles. Four raids also were carried out near Ramadi and Sinjar. (Writing by Bill Trott; Editing by Susan Heavey) More »

  • Iraq jihadists slow Tikrit advance with bombs and snipers
    Iraq jihadists slow Tikrit advance with bombs and snipers Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    Iraqi forces closed in on Tikrit, their progress slowed by jihadist snipers and booby traps, on the second day of Baghdad's largest operation yet against the Islamic State group. More »

  • U.S. military's Mosul briefing inaccurate, misguided, Carter says Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    A U.S. military official who briefed news media about Iraq's upcoming offensive to retake Mosul provided inaccurate information but should never have publicly discussed war plans anyway, Defence Secretary Ash Carter said on Tuesday. Carter's criticism of the February news briefing by an official from the U.S. military's Central Command was accompanied by an assurance from the top U.S. military officer to Congress that the matter was subject to an internal inquiry. Two influential Republican senators on the committee, John McCain and Lindsey Graham, sent a letter to the White House on Feb. 20, complaining about the briefing, which predicted a Mosul offensive likely to start in April or May, involving 20,000 to 25,000 Iraqi and Kurdish forces. Mosul, which had a population of more than 1 million people, was captured by Islamic State fighters in June and is the largest city in the group's self-declared caliphate, a stretch of territory that straddles the border between northern Iraq and eastern Syria. More »

  • Dempsey says Iranian hand in Iraq could turn out well
    Dempsey says Iranian hand in Iraq could turn out well Wed, Mar 4, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Iran's direct support for an Iraqi push to dislodge the Islamic State group from the northern city of Tikrit could turn out to be "a positive thing" if it does not inflame sectarian tensions, the top U.S. general said Tuesday. More »

  • AP ANALYSIS: US on sidelines of key Iraqi battle against IS
    AP ANALYSIS: US on sidelines of key Iraqi battle against IS Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iranian-backed Shiite militias and Sunni tribes have joined Iraq's military in a major operation to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown from the Islamic State group, while the U.S.-led coalition has remained on the sidelines. More »

  • Ex-CIA chief Petraeus to plead guilty, admits giving mistress secrets
    Ex-CIA chief Petraeus to plead guilty, admits giving mistress secrets Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    By Mark Hosenball and Will Dunham WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Former CIA Director David Petraeus has agreed to plead guilty to mishandling classified information, with the retired four-star general admitting to giving eight "black books" full of such data to a military mistress who was writing his biography. Petraeus, 62, will plead guilty to a misdemeanour charge of unauthorised removal and retention of classified material under the deal, according to documents filed on Tuesday in federal court in Charlotte, North Carolina. The plea agreement announced by the Justice Department marks the latest chapter in an astonishing fall from grace for Petraeus, an intellectual with a Princeton University doctorate and a counter-insurgency expert widely considered one of America's most important military leaders of recent decades. He served stints as the top U.S. commander in the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and then as CIA director and was lauded by senior U.S. lawmakers. More »

  • Mideast looks for a 'Switzerland' Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Four centuries ago, after a defeat to the French, Switzerland planted a seed in Europe. The model is so successful in fact that many nations in the troubled Middle East have for years tried to become “the Switzerland” of the region. With war now raging in Syria and Iraq, and with Israel at odds with Iran and nearby terrorist groups, is there a Middle East nation that can act as a nonaligned island of peace and a friendly intermediary in negotiations, like Switzerland? In 2003, in an attempt to reorder the Middle East, then-President George W. Bush hoped to turn Iraq into a Switzerland of the Middle East – by force. More »

  • Kerry visits Riyadh to soothe fears of stronger Iran under nuclear deal
    Kerry visits Riyadh to soothe fears of stronger Iran under nuclear deal Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    By Arshad Mohammed and Angus McDowall MONTREUX, Switzerland/RIYADH (Reuters) - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry flies to Riyadh this week to try to reassure King Salman that any nuclear deal with Iran will be in Saudi interests, despite the kingdom's fears that it may boost Tehran's backing for Shi'ite Muslim groups in the region. Convincing Saudi Arabia to accept any agreed nuclear deal is important to President Barack Obama because he needs Riyadh to work closely with Washington on a host of regional policies and to maintain its role as a moderating influence in oil markets. While the main critics of the U.S. push for a nuclear deal with Iran are Israel and Congressional Republicans, Sunni Muslim powerhouse Saudi Arabia is also concerned that an accord would allow Iran to devote more cash and energy to Shi'ite proxies in Syria, Iraq, Lebanon and Yemen, escalating conflicts. More »

  • Iraqi forces try to seal off Islamic State around Tikrit
    Iraqi forces try to seal off Islamic State around Tikrit Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    By Ahmed Rasheed and Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Thousands of Iraqi soldiers and Shi'ite militiamen sought to seal off Islamic State fighters in Tikrit and nearby towns on Tuesday, the second day of Iraq's biggest offensive yet against a stronghold of the Sunni militants. Iranian military commander Qassem Soleimani, who has helped coordinate Baghdad's counter-attacks against Islamic State since it seized much of northern Iraq in June, was overseeing at least part of the operation, witnesses told Reuters. His presence on the frontline highlights neighbouring Iran's influence over the Shi'ite fighters who have been key to containing the militants in Iraq. More »

  • Andrew Lack in talks to return to NBC Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    NEW YORK (AP) — NBC Universal is in talks to bring back Andrew Lack to its troubled news operation, which would be the first high-level shake-up following several rough months culminating in the six-month suspension of "Nightly News" anchor Brian Williams for misleading viewers about his experiences covering the Iraq War. More »

  • In ongoing war with Islamic State, Twitter suspends 2,000 accounts Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Twitter has launched its own war against the Islamic State (IS). A brutal organization that has succeeded in conquering large swaths of territory in Iraq and Syria, IS is also well known for its savvy use of social media to spread threats and propaganda. Over the past several days, Twitter has suspended about 2,000 IS-affiliated accounts. "Twitter has been doing a whole lot over the past week. More »

  • U.S.-led coalition launches 14 air strikes against Islamic State - task for … Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its coalition partners staged 14 air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq since early Monday, according to the Combined Joint Task Force leading the operations. The strikes included six air strikes near the key Syrian border town of Kobani, where they hit three units of militant fighters, the task force said in a statement on Tuesday. Another struck near al Hasaka. ... More »

  • British minister says Iraq must quell Sunni fears amid advance
    British minister says Iraq must quell Sunni fears amid advance Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Iraq's government needs to show Sunni Muslim citizens that it is on their side as its forces, alongside Shi'ite militias, advance towards areas held by Islamic State militants, British Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said on Tuesday. Iraq's military push towards Tikrit, a mostly Sunni city, has involved thousands of Shi'ite militiamen, witnesses have said. Shi'ite militia have been accused of mass executions and burning of homes in areas they have seized from Islamic State. Leaders of the paramilitary forces have denied the accusations. More »

  • Isis barbarians helping Kurdistan realise its independence dream
    Isis barbarians helping Kurdistan realise its independence dream Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    While the world's attention is gripped by the appalling descent into savagery in Syria and Iraq and its corollary, Islamist terrorism, one silver lining has emerged: the newly invigorated Kurdistan, the semi-autonomous region of northern Iraq. Kurdistan is almost the only good news in an area of unremitting tragedy and conflict between the opposing forces of political Islam and religious fundamentalism. The rise of Isis has strengthened the Kurds' political and territorial position and advanced their crusade towards independence. It is almost inconceivable that the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) will relinquish these gains. More »

  • IS says US suicide bomber carried out Iraq attack
    IS says US suicide bomber carried out Iraq attack Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    An American jihadist carried out a suicide truck bomb attack against Iraqi forces involved in an operation to recapture the city of Tikrit, the Islamic State group said Tuesday. More »