Latest Iraq news

  • 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 … 5 hours ago

    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 5 hours ago

    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 6 hours ago

    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 7 hours ago

    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 8 hours ago

    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 14 hours ago

    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 19 hours ago

    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 20 hours ago

    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 21 hours ago

    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 22 hours ago

    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' 23 hours ago

    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 23 hours ago

    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 23 hours ago

    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 »

  • Turkey delivers military aid to Iraq Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    ANKARA, Turkey (AP) — Turkey's state-run news agency says two Turkish cargo planes have delivered military aid to Iraq. More »

  • Islamic State: In Iraqi battle for Tikrit, signs of Iran's expanding ro … Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    The Iranian military is reportedly playing a significant role in Iraq’s latest push to retake the city of Tikrit from the self-described Islamic State. Unnamed US officials told the Wall Street Journal that Iran is supplying artillery, rockets, and aerial drones for the offensive. A commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards is also taking part. Iran and Iraq have grown close since the the US-led 2003 overthrow of Saddam Hussein. More »

  • US intelligence official: Iran involved in fight against IS Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    WASHINGTON (AP) — America's top intelligence official says Iran is involved in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq. More »

  • Iraq battles to rebuild despite war and oil slump
    Iraq battles to rebuild despite war and oil slump Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    By Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - On a main highway south of Baghdad, dozens of buildings rise up from the Iraqi plains, the first blocks of a multi-billion-dollar city emerging from a landscape more accustomed to conflict and crisis than glitzy new development. Bismayah New City, which aims to house half a million people within four years, dwarfs any construction project Iraq has attempted in a generation. On this largely barren piece of land, about 20 km (12 miles) from Iraq's once proud but now war-damaged, dilapidated and overcrowded capital, developers plan to build 100,000 homes. South Korea's Hanwha Engineering & Construction [HANWHE.UL], which signed an $8 billion (5.20 billion pounds) contract to build Bismayah, aims to hand over the first apartments this summer. More »

  • Iraq launches major assault to retake Tikrit from IS
    Iraq launches major assault to retake Tikrit from IS Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Some 30,000 Iraqi troops and militia backed by aircraft pounded jihadists in and around Tikrit in the biggest offensive yet to retake one of the Islamic State group's main strongholds. More »

  • Australia to send extra 300 troops to Iraq
    Australia to send extra 300 troops to Iraq Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Australia announced Tuesday it will send another 300 troops to Iraq in a joint mission with New Zealand to help train local forces fighting to reclaim territory seized by the Islamic State group. More »

  • Top Asian News at 3:30 a.m. GMT Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia will send more troops to Iraq to help train local security forces in their battle against the Islamic State group, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Tuesday. The deployment of 300 Australian troops to the Taji military base north of Baghdad is part of a joint Australia-New Zealand training mission. New Zealand Prime Minister John Key said his country would send 143 of its own troops as part of the mission. More »

  • Australia sending more troops to Iraq to train local forces Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    CANBERRA, Australia (AP) — Australia will send more troops to Iraq to help train local security forces in their battle against the Islamic State group, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said Tuesday. More »

  • Australia to send 300 more troops to Iraq on training mission Tue, Mar 3, 2015

    Australia will send an additional 300 soldiers to help train Iraqi forces fighting Islamic State militants, Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Tuesday, following a request from the United States to contribute to an international training coalition. Australia last year committed a 600-strong force comprising some 400 airforce personnel and 200 special forces soldiers to help fight Islamic State. The new Australian troops will join around 140 New Zealand Defence Force members and be based at Taji, northwest of Baghdad, Abbott told reporters. Australia is on high alert for attacks by radicalised Muslims or home-grown militants returning from fighting in the Middle East. More »

  • U.S., partners conduct 9 air strikes against Islamic State - task force Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States and its coalition partners conducted four air strikes against Islamic State militants in Syria and five in Iraq on Sunday and Monday, according to the U.S. military. In a statement on Monday, the Combined Joint Task Force leading the air operations said one strike near Dayr az Zawr in Syria hit a crude oil collection point. The others, near Kobani, destroyed a bunker and vehicle, and hit a tactical unit. In Iraq, air strikes near Al Asad, Bayji and Kirkuk hit tactical units, checkpoints, fighting positions, and boats and vehicles. ... More »

  • Iraq launches offensive to retake Tikrit from ISIL
    Iraq launches offensive to retake Tikrit from ISIL Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    Thousands of troops, Shia fighters and armed Sunni tribesmen launch large-scale offensive on Saddam Hussein's hometown. More »

  • Fallen to the IS: Iraqi and Syrian towns
    Fallen to the IS: Iraqi and Syrian towns Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    Below are the main towns and cities in Iraq and Syria which have fallen into the hands of the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group: More »

  • Iraq launches attack to retake Tikrit from Islamic State
    Iraq launches attack to retake Tikrit from Islamic State Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    By Dominic Evans BAGHDAD (Reuters) - Iraq's armed forces, backed by Shi'ite militia, attacked Islamic State strongholds north of Baghdad on Monday as they launched an offensive to retake the city of Tikrit and the surrounding Sunni Muslim province of Salahuddin. The offensive is the biggest military operation in the province since the Sunni Islamist radicals seized swaths of north Iraq last June and advanced towards the capital Baghdad. Progress in Salahuddin will affect plans to recapture Mosul further north. An official from the U.S. ... More »

  • Iraq launches operation to retake Tikrit from Islamic State
    Iraq launches operation to retake Tikrit from Islamic State Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    BAGHDAD (AP) — Backed by Iranian-supported Shiite militias, Iraqi forces launched a large-scale offensive Monday to retake Saddam Hussein's hometown from the Islamic State group, the first in a series of campaigns to try to reclaim large parts of northern Iraq from the Sunni extremists. More »

  • IRAQ Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    Iraq launches operation to retake Tikrit. Map shows the area of the attack.; 2c x 4 inches; 96.3 mm x 101 mm; More »

  • Fighting ISIS for Saddam's Hometown
    Fighting ISIS for Saddam's Hometown Mon, Mar 2, 2015

    On Monday, Iraqi security forces aided by Shiite militias started an offensive to take back the city of Tikrit, which has been under Islamic State control since last summer. Strategically, the battle for Tikrit is a crucial military challenge for an Iraqi army trying to wrest back control of the northern and western parts of the country that it lost to ISIS in the past year. As my colleague Steve Clemons noted on Twitter, the Tikrit operation is, for one thing, "an important training run on the larger eventual challenge of Mosul," the second-largest city in Iraq, which is also under Islamic State control. Tikrit is not only the hometown of former Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein, it is also dominated by Iraqi Sunnis who are wary of Baghdad's Shiite-led government and Iran's growing influence in the country. More »