Latest Iraq news

  • Foreign fighters switching tactics to reach Syria, Iraq
    Foreign fighters switching tactics to reach Syria, Iraq 18 hours ago

    Foreign fighters bent on joining jihadists in Syria, Iraq and North Africa are changing tactics to avoid detection, increasingly resorting to tortuous travel routes and relying on middlemen, Interpol said Friday. More »

  • 'Chaotic picture' as funding gap threatens WHO operations in Iraq 21 hours ago

    By Magdalena Mis LONDON (Thomson Reuters Foundation) - More than 3 million refugees and displaced Iraqis could be denied life-saving healthcare as the World Health Organisation (WHO) scrambles to secure $60 million to fund their operations in the country to the end of the year. Without the money, healthcare providers in Iraq funded by the WHO and its partners could be forced to stop services -- including primary healthcare, disease outbreak detection and immunization -- at the end of June, said Syed Jaffar Hussain, WHO's head of mission in Iraq. "By the 30th of June, the funding will be completely exhausted," Hussain told the Thomson Reuters Foundation by phone from Iraq. More »

  • Break the vicious cycle, Singapore tells South China Sea rivals
    Break the vicious cycle, Singapore tells South China Sea rivals 23 hours ago

    By Rujun Shen and David Alexander SINGAPORE (Reuters) - Singapore's prime minister called on countries on Friday to break the "vicious cycle" of the South China Sea row, as the United States and China exchanged increasingly angry barbs over reclaimed islands in the disputed waterway. Inaugurating Asia's biggest security forum, the Shangri-La Dialogue, Lee Hsien Loong also warned of the threat of Islamic State militancy in Southeast Asia and said it was not inconceivable that the ultra-radicals could establish a base in the region physically under their control, like in Syria or Iraq. Just hours before Lee spoke, the Pentagon said China had placed mobile artillery weapons systems on a reclaimed island in the South China Sea. More »

  • Iraq's Sunni-Shiite divide: Does US experience show how it can be bridg … Fri, May 29, 2015

    A tempest in Iraq over a military operation’s name might have been a small thing, but to some regional experts, it offers a measure of the deepening divide between the country’s Shiite and Sunni Muslim communities. On Wednesday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi officially renamed the military offensive that was launched to retake Anbar province from Islamic State (IS) militants “Lubbayk ya Iraq,” or “At your service, Iraq.” The operation was originally dubbed “Lubbayk ya Hussein” – chosen by the Shiite militias leading the battle to honor a revered figure in Shiite Islam. The switch to a less sectarian name was seen as a positive gesture toward Iraq’s marginalized Sunni population – something bestowing an air of nationalism and unity on the operation. More »

  • In Islamic State fight, radically changed Pentagon view of civilian casualt … Thu, May 28, 2015

    As the Islamic State continues its march across Iraq and Syria, so, too, has come the blame game. It runs along the lines that the US military should be doing more to help its Iraqi and Syrian allies in the region fight the Islamic State. Specifically, the US has reportedly declined to bomb certain targets for fear of civilian casualties. More »

  • 2 car bombs kill 10 people in Iraq Thu, May 28, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Authorities in Iraq say two separate car bombs inside parking lot of two hotels have killed 10 people in the capital Baghdad. More »

  • US to "fine tune" Iraq strategy in light of Ramadi debacle Thu, May 28, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Pentagon leaders are trying to "fine tune" U.S. strategy for ousting the Islamic State group from Iraq, focusing on faster and better training and arming of Sunni tribes whose combat role is central to reversing the extremists' advances, senior U.S. officials said Thursday. More »

  • Qaeda-led rebels take Idlib's last Syria regime bastion
    Qaeda-led rebels take Idlib's last Syria regime bastion Thu, May 28, 2015

    A rebel coalition led by the Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda stormed and seized the last regime-held city in Idlib province Thursday, as Iraq exhumed the remains of 470 jihadist victims. More »

  • Pan-Muslim group condemns jihadist groups, IS
    Pan-Muslim group condemns jihadist groups, IS Thu, May 28, 2015

    A conference of Muslim states on Thursday condemned main jihadist groups in Syria and Iraq and studied a plan for developing an effective strategy against "terrorism and extremism". More »

  • U.S., allies target Islamic State with 26 air strikes - statement Thu, May 28, 2015

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S.-led coalition has staged 26 air strikes since early Wednesday targeting Islamic State militants in Syria and Iraq against, according to the Combined Joint Task Force leading the air operations. In Iraq, 20 air strikes struck near 10 cities, including five near Mosul, three by Falluja and one near Ramadi, the task force said in a statement released on Thursday. Six air strikes in Syria targeted areas near al Hasaka and Dayr az Zawr, it said. (Reporting by Washington Newsroom) More »

  • Iraq 'exhumed 470 bodies from Tikrit mass graves'
    Iraq 'exhumed 470 bodies from Tikrit mass graves' Thu, May 28, 2015

    Iraq has exhumed the remains of 470 people believed to have been executed by jihadists near Tikrit last year in what is known as the Speicher massacre, the health minister said Thursday. More »

  • Iraq exhumes 470 bodies of 'ISIL massacre victims'
    Iraq exhumes 470 bodies of 'ISIL massacre victims' Thu, May 28, 2015

    Burial sites found in Tikrit believed to be of cadets who were abducted from army base before executed last year. More »

  • Western women who join Islamic State defy 'jihadi bride' stereotype … Thu, May 28, 2015

    By Michael Holden LONDON (Reuters) - Western women joining Islamic State are increasingly from comfortable backgrounds and often well educated with romantic notions of adventure often quickly dispelled by the harshness of life as a "Jihadi bride", according to a British research report. Some 550 women from Western countries have left their homelands to join Islamic State, which has captured swathes of Syria and Iraq, said the report by the Institute for Strategic Dialogue and the International Centre for the Study of Radicalisation at King's College, London. More »

  • Islamic State photos purport to show unharmed Palmyra ruins
    Islamic State photos purport to show unharmed Palmyra ruins Thu, May 28, 2015

    Islamic State posted photographs online which it said were taken in the central Syrian city of Palmyra and appeared to show its ancient ruins unharmed since the hardline group seized it from government forces. Reuters was not able to independently confirm the authenticity of the photographs posted on jihadi forums by the Islamic State's media branch. Islamic State is an offshoot of al Qaeda that has seized territory in Syria and Iraq and is the target of a U.S.-led air strike campaign in both countries. More »

  • Islamic State suicide attacks in Iraq's Anbar kill 17 troops
    Islamic State suicide attacks in Iraq's Anbar kill 17 troops Wed, May 27, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — As Iraqi forces gathered for a major new offensive to try to take back the sprawling Sunni heartland of Anbar province, Islamic State militants struck first, unleashing a wave of suicide bombings that killed at least 17 soldiers. More »

  • Oil market extends losses under stronger dollar
    Oil market extends losses under stronger dollar Wed, May 27, 2015

    World oil prices finished lower in choppy trade on Wednesday as the strong dollar weighed and a potential rise in Iraq exports heightened global oversupply worries More »

  • Analysis - Emboldened in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State may be reaching limits …
    Analysis - Emboldened in Syria and Iraq, Islamic State may be reaching limits … Wed, May 27, 2015

    By Peter Graff LONDON (Reuters) - With its two biggest victories in nearly a year in Iraq and Syria, Islamic State has energized its fighters, littered the streets of two cities with the bodies of its enemies and forced Washington to re-examine its strategy. The near simultaneous capture this month of Ramadi west of Baghdad and Palmyra northeast of Damascus has reinforced the sway of the self-proclaimed caliphate of all Muslims closer to the ramparts of Islam's two great historic capitals. In both Iraq and Syria they have lost ground in recent months as well as gained it. More »

  • Tony Blair's legacy is a Middle East more divided, chaotic and sectarian …
    Tony Blair's legacy is a Middle East more divided, chaotic and sectarian … Wed, May 27, 2015

    As Tony Blair stands down as Middle East envoy, few in the region will mourn his departure. Much of that was the bloody legacy of the wars that Blair waged in Iraq and Afghanistan, conflicts that he and his American allies began and which still rage across the region today. It was not only the cavalier and reckless way that Blair waded into the Middle East in 2001 and 2003 that wrote his epitaph. More »

  • France calls for tougher global mobilization against IS Wed, May 27, 2015

    PARIS (AP) — French Foreign Affairs Minister Laurent Fabius called on the international community to strengthen its mobilization against the Islamic State group ahead of an international meeting on Iraq organized next week. More »

  • Iraq cleric Sadr criticises operation codename choice
    Iraq cleric Sadr criticises operation codename choice Wed, May 27, 2015

    Influential Shiite cleric Moqtada Sadr on Wednesday criticised the codename given to a military operation in Sunni areas of Iraq, warning that it risked fanning the flames of sectarianism. More »

  • Syria says wants more Iraqi coordination in Islamic State fight
    Syria says wants more Iraqi coordination in Islamic State fight Wed, May 27, 2015

    Damascus wants more coordination with Baghdad to combat Islamic State fighters who control land in both countries, Syria's foreign minister said on Wednesday, days after the group seized a border crossing and overran a central Syrian city. Islamic State seized al-Tanf border crossing with Iraq last week and has taken over the desert city of Palmyra, the first time the group has captured a large population centre directly from the Syrian military. More »

  • IS Suicide Bombers Use Sandstorm To Kill Troops
    IS Suicide Bombers Use Sandstorm To Kill Troops Wed, May 27, 2015

    Suicide bombers from Islamic State used a sandstorm in Iraq to launch an assault on government troops in the western province of Anbar. An Iraqi military spokesman said the killings were a major blow to efforts to dislodge the Islamist fighters from the Sunni heartland. The attacks took place outside the IS-held city of Fallujah on Tuesday night and came hours after Iraq announced the start of a major operation to recapture areas in Anbar under the control of IS. More »

  • Iraq rebrands military campaign against Islamic State over fears of sectari …
    Iraq rebrands military campaign against Islamic State over fears of sectari … Wed, May 27, 2015

    A campaign led by Shi'ite paramilitaries to drive Islamic State militants from Iraq's Sunni heartland was rebranded on Wednesday after criticism that the name chosen for the push was overtly sectarian. The move was a response to fears that Iraq's reliance on Shi'ite paramilitaries to defeat Islamic State fighters, instead of the disordered and demoralised national army, could alienate Sunni Iraqis and deepen the region's sectarian divide. The United States said it was "unhelpful" that the militias had dubbed the operation to retake Iraq's western province of Anbar "Labeyk Ya Hussein." The name translates to "At your service, Hussein," in honour of one of the most revered figures in Shi'ite Islam. More »

  • US-Iraq: Blame in vain
    US-Iraq: Blame in vain Wed, May 27, 2015

    Behind the bickering and recrimination lies a sinister endgame. More »

  • ISIL suicide attacks target Iraq military convoys
    ISIL suicide attacks target Iraq military convoys Wed, May 27, 2015

    Reports of 55 killed after triple blasts hit convoys in Fallujah, as Iraqi offensive is under way to retake Ramadi. More »

  • Iraq army spokesman: Islamic State suicide attacks in Anbar province hit army, … Wed, May 27, 2015

    Iraq army spokesman: Islamic State suicide attacks in Anbar province hit army, kill 17 troops. More »

  • Pentagon chief's take on Iraqis undercuts Obama's strategy
    Pentagon chief's take on Iraqis undercuts Obama's strategy Tue, May 26, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Ash Carter's blunt assessment that Iraqi forces lack the "will to fight" undermines a central premise of President Barack Obama's strategy for defeating the Islamic State: that Iraq's military can effectively handle ground operations so Americans don't have to. More »

  • Yemeni pleads guilty in New York to Al-Qaeda conspiracy
    Yemeni pleads guilty in New York to Al-Qaeda conspiracy Tue, May 26, 2015

    A 40-year-old Yemeni, who fought US troops in Iraq and Afghanistan, pleaded guilty in New York Tuesday to conspiring to murder Americans and to supporting Al-Qaeda, prosecutors said. More »

  • Bernie Sanders 2016: Can he raise a liberal army? Tue, May 26, 2015

    Self-described “democratic socialist” Bernie Sanders kicks off his campaign for president on Tuesday in his hometown of Burlington, Vt. He’s hoping to attract an army of left-leaning Democrats who aren’t happy about Hillary Clinton’s past coziness with Wall Street and her Senate vote to authorize the Iraq War. “I know what I believe,” said Senator Sanders in a fundraising e-mail issued prior to the event. How many liberals are there in America, and is their number on the increase? More »

  • Iraq Launches Major Fightback On IS In Anbar
    Iraq Launches Major Fightback On IS In Anbar Tue, May 26, 2015

    Iraqi troops have launched a major operation to retake control of Anbar province from Islamic State. But the Pentagon confirmed Iraqi forces have now begun "shaping operations" and "security zone interactions" - actions expected to precede major combat in or around Ramadi. Ahmed Al-Assadi, from the Shia militia group Popular Mobilisation Front, said the operation would "not last for a long time" and that Iraqi forces have surrounded Ramadi on three sides. More »

  • Syria says carries out deadly air raid on Islamic State stronghold
    Syria says carries out deadly air raid on Islamic State stronghold Tue, May 26, 2015

    By Tom Perry and Sylvia Westall BEIRUT (Reuters) - The Syrian air force hit an Islamic State-controlled air base in Raqqa province on Tuesday, killing more than 140 militants, state media said, striking the jihadist group in its Syrian stronghold a week after it seized Palmyra from the government. The city of Raqqa is seen as the de facto capital of the "caliphate" Islamic State has declared in Syria and Iraq. The group has made notable gains in both countries this month, capturing both Ramadi in Iraq and Palmyra in Syria. More »

  • Iraq forces in Anbar push, stir over operation codename
    Iraq forces in Anbar push, stir over operation codename Tue, May 26, 2015

    Iraqi forces launched a broad operation on Tuesday to tighten the noose on jihadists controlling Anbar, but Shiite militias gave it a name that risked raising sectarian tensions. More »

  • Iraq begins operation to oust Islamic State from Anbar
    Iraq begins operation to oust Islamic State from Anbar Tue, May 26, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Iraq vowed Tuesday to retake Anbar province — now mostly held by the Islamic State — by launching a large-scale military operation less than two weeks after suffering a humiliating defeat at the hands of the extremists in the provincial capital of Ramadi. More »

  • Pentagon slams 'unhelpful' Shi'ite code name for Ramadi offensi … Tue, May 26, 2015

    By Phil Stewart WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The Pentagon on Tuesday said it was "unhelpful" for Iraq's Shi'ite militia to have announced an openly sectarian code name for the operation to retake the Sunni city of Ramadi and added that, in the U.S. view, the full-on offensive had yet to begin. A spokesman for the Shi'ite militias, known as Hashid Shaabi, said the code name for the new operation would be "Labaik ya Hussein", a slogan in honour of a grandson of the Prophet Mohammed killed in the 7th Century battle that led to the schism between Shi'ite and Sunni Muslims. The United States has been vocally advocating for Iraq to tread carefully in employing Shi'ite militias to help Iraqi forces retake the city, which fell to the Islamic State a week ago in Baghdad's biggest military setback in nearly a year. More »

  • Iraq Shi'ite militia take lead in campaign to reverse Islamic State gai …
    Iraq Shi'ite militia take lead in campaign to reverse Islamic State gai … Tue, May 26, 2015

    Iraq's Shi'ite paramilitaries said on Tuesday they had taken charge of the campaign to drive Islamic State from the western province of Anbar, giving the operation an openly sectarian codename that could infuriate its Sunni Muslim population. The United States described the codename as "unhelpful" while France, which will host a meeting of nations fighting Islamic State next week, accused the Shi'ite-led government of failing to represent fully the interests of all Iraqis. The Iraqi government is scrambling to reverse the fall of Ramadi, its biggest military setback in nearly a year. More »