BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Using secret tunnels built by Saddam Hussein and rough terrain to outfox Iraqi troops, Islamic State insurgents are getting dangerously close to Baghdad with the support of heavily-armed Sunni tribesmen, Iraqi security and intelligence officials said.
The al Qaeda offshoot, which poses the biggest security threat to Iraq since the fall of Saddam in 2003, has made new bold advances in the north, reaching a major dam and seizing a fifth oilfield and three more towns after routing security forces from the Kurdish autonomous region.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Shi’ite militia forces executed 15 Sunni Muslims and then hung them by electricity poles in a public square in a town northeast of Baghdad on Wednesday, police said.
A police officer at the scene in Baquba, a mixed Sunni and Shi’ite town 65 km (40 miles) from Baghdad, said he believed the action was designed to keep Sunnis from supporting the Islamic State, an al-Qaeda offshoot which seized swathes of land in an advance through northern Iraq last month.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Islamic State, the al Qaeda spin-off that seized wide swathes of Iraq almost unopposed last month, has released a video telling Iraqi soldiers who may still have some fight in them that they risk being rounded up en masse and executed.
Iraq’s army unraveled when the Sunni insurgents staged a lightning advance through northern towns and cities, building on territory their comrades captured earlier in the west of the country, a major OPEC oil producer.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – Iraqi police on Monday found the corpses of 15 people, including three women shot in the head in militia-style killings, a bloody start to the holiday marking the end of the Muslim fasting month of Ramadan, security sources said.
Fears have been growing of a relapse to the dark days of sectarian civil war which peaked in 2006-2007 since Sunni militants seized large swathes of the north last month, building on gains by comrades made in the west of Iraq.
Islamic State, the al-Qaeda offshoot that seized large swathes of northern Iraq last month, has warned women in the city of Mosul to wear full-face veils or risk severe punishment.
U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon sought guidance from Iraq’s top cleric on Thursday, as he urged Iraqi politicians to form an inclusive government that can confront a Sunni militant insurgency.
BAGHDAD (Reuters) – A shooting and bombing attack on a bus near Baghdad killed 52 prisoners and nine policemen on Thursday, Ministry of Justice sources said, as politicians faced pressure to form a power-sharing government that can tackle a Sunni insurgency.
The bus was transporting prisoners from a military base in the town of Taji to Baghdad when it was hit by roadside bombs, the sources said. Gunmen then opened fire. The attack left a burned shell of the vehicle along a rural road.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Gunmen killed 21 Egyptian military border guards near the frontier with Libya on Saturday, highlighting a growing threat from an area that authorities say has become a haven for militants seeking to topple the Cairo government.
Security officials said the assailants were smugglers. But the army spokesman said on his Facebook page that “terrorists” – the term authorities use to describe Islamist militants – were behind the attack.
CAIRO (Reuters) – Egypt renewed its call for a truce to end the conflict between Israel and Hamas in Gaza on Friday and France asked Qatar to use its influence with the Palestinian movement to reach a ceasefire.
Egyptian Foreign Minister Sameh Shukri, speaking at a news conference in Cairo with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius,
CAIRO (Reuters) – An Egyptian court sentenced leading activist Alaa Abdel Fattah to 15 years in jail on Wednesday for violating a protest law and on other charges, his lawyer said, a move that outraged human rights groups.
Abdel Fattah, 33, became a symbol of the 2011 uprising against President Hosni Mubarak through his leading role in the protests and on social media. Twenty four other people were also sentenced to 15 years in jail on similar charges.