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Over 12000 observers monitor Iraqi elections

in MIDLE EAST/POLITICS by

More than 12,000 observers will monitor Iraqi parliamentary election on May 12 in Kirkuk, a spokesman of Kirkuk-branch of the electoral commission said on Tuesday (May 8). Spokesman of Kirkuk-branch of the Iraqi High Independent Electoral Commission (IHEC), Abdulstar Shwani said over 40 channels will also observe the parliamentary election next week in the city. “The preparations are in the final stage in Kirkuk,” Shwani told NRT. Iraqi counter-terrorism forces, federal police and security forces will maintain security in the city during the day of election, he added. Iraqi army helicopters will also observe the ballot stations in Kirkuk, according to the spokesman of Kirkuk-branch of the electoral commission.

Iraq is due to hold private election for security forces in the Defense and Interior Ministries on Thursday, he said. General election is held of Saturday. Around 7,000 candidates are competing to win the 329 seats in the Council of Representatives. A total of 24 million Iraqis are eligible to cast their votes to elect members of parliament, who will in turn elect the Iraqi President and Prime Minister. The parliamentary election will be the first general election since Iraq’s victory over Islamic State in December last year.

Iraqi warplanes strike ISIS positions in Syria for second time

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

The Iraqi Air Force has launched airstrikes against positions of the Islamic State militant group inside Syrian territory, the media office of Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi said Sunday. “The heroes of the Iraqi Air Force have dealt a severe blow to the site of the leaders of Daesh south of al-Dashisha village inside the Syrian territory,” the media office said in a statement referring to ISIS by a different acronym. Al-Dashisha village located in south of Hasakah.  The airstrikes by Iraqi warplanes in Syrian territory were second of their kind this year.

ISIS positions were hit by Iraqi airstrikes on April 19 following anorder by the Iraqi Prime Minister. At that time, Iraq said that the threat that ISIS militants pose in Syria to Iraq led to the strikes to be launched. “Our forces, our fighters and their pursuit of the terrorist gangs saved many lives and thwarted plans,” it said, adding that “these strikes will help accelerate elimination of the organization in the region after it was eliminated militarily in Iraq.”

UN agency says 68 Iraqis killed and 122 injured in April clashes

in DEFENCE/MIDLE EAST by

A total of 68 Iraqis were killed and another 122 injured in acts of terrorism, violence and armed conflict in Iraq in April, according to casualty figures recorded by the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI). Of the overall figures, the number of civilians killed, excluding police, was 64, while the number of injured was 122, the UN agency said in its monthly statement released on Wednesday. Anbar was the worst affected Governorate, with 53 civilian casualties (24 killed, 29 injured), followed by Baghdad with 8 killed and 30 injured, and Kirkuk with 10 killed and 21 injured. “The casualty figures reported continue steadily to decline after the military defeat of Dae’sh (Islamic State) last year. This is good news, but the best news will be when Iraq is completely free of the threat of terrorism and is at peace,” said the Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) for Iraq Ján Kubiš.

North Korea’s Kim Jong Un tells China he is committed to denuclearization

in ASIA/DEFENCE by

North Korean leader Kim Jong Un told a visiting Chinese diplomat on Thursday that he is committed to denuclearization, China’s foreign ministry said, as diplomatic efforts to bring lasting peace to the Korean peninsula gather pace. China is North Korea’s most important economic and diplomatic backer, despite its anger at North Korea’ repeated nuclear and missile tests, and its support for strong UN sanctions against the North. China’s top diplomat, State Councillor Wang Yi, is visiting North Korea following last week’s historic meeting between South Korean President Moon Jae-in and the North’s Kim Jong Un, when both pledged to improve ties.

The North surprised the world several days before the summit by declaring it would dismantle its nuclear test site to “transparently guarantee” its dramatic commitment to stop all nuclear and missile tests. Wang told Kim that North Korea had seized the day and made a decisive decision, bringing positive changes. China supported an end to the state of war on the peninsula, North Korea’s shift to economic development and the resolution of North Korea’s legitimate security concerns during the denuclearization process, he said.

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