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Iraqi pro-govt troops says on high alert ahead of parliamentary elections

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The pro-government paramilitary troops have announced repulsing a terrorist scheme by Islamic State to target the upcoming parliamentary elections, the command announced on Wednesday. A statement by the media service of al-Hashd al-Shaabi said, “as the Iraqi parliamentary elections, slated for May 12, near, the troops became on high alert to secure the border strip fearing any violations in Anbar and border areas.” The troops, along with security troops, “managed to carry out operations on the common borders with Syria in 2017 to eliminate IS members in Qaim, Rawa and Akashat regions as well as securing their vicinities,” the statement added. “Local police and army, backed by al-Hashd al-Shaabi, were tasked with securing the regions and towns that are near to the western desert of Anbar ahead of elections,” it said.

Iraqi warplanes strike ISIS positions in Syria for second time

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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.”

20 Islamic State members, planning to target parliamentary elections, arrested in Nineveh

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Police troops have arrested 20 Islamic State militants as they were planning to carry out terrorist operations during the parliamentary elections in Nineveh, a security source said on Thursday. “Information from the intelligence helped in arresting 20 terrorists who were planning to carry out terrorist operations during elections in Mosul city and its vicinity,” the police source told Alghad Press. The troops, according to the source, “managed to arrest the terrorists in several regions in al-Shuhadaa al-Thaniya district in Mosul.” Moreover, the Nineveh Police Command announced arresting an IS member in an operation in west of Mosul. Maj. Gen. Hamad Namis al-Jabouri, the commander, said troops arrested “IS member, known as Khaled al-Loweizi, in the market of Sumar district in west of Mosul.” Islamic State continues to launch sporadic attacks across Iraq against security troops. Security reports indicate that the militant group still poses threat against stability in the country.

US-led coalition signals end of major operations against Islamic State in Iraq

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The coalition has closed down its land forces command headquarters in Baghdad, “signifying the end of major combat operations against ISIS in Iraq,” the 75-member global alliance announced on Monday. The Combined Joint Forces Land Component Command supported Iraqi forces in the war against ISIS. Its train, advise, assist, and equip missions will now be consolidated within a single headquarters “as the nature of its support to the [Iraqi Security Forces] evolves from supporting and enabling combat operations to the training and development of self-sufficient Iraqi security-related capabilities.”

“Thanks to our partnered success, we are able to continue our support to the Government of Iraq under the unified command of CJTF-OIR,” said outgoing commander of the force Maj. Gen. Walter Piatt. The coalition has increasingly scaled back its activities in Iraq, focusing on training and advising Iraqi forces with the locals taking the lead in active combat missions.

 

Three Islamic State members killed in confrontations against troops, southwest of Kirkuk

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Three Islamic State members were killed in confrontations with security troops, southwest of Kirkuk, a security source from the province said on Thursday. Speaking to AlSumaria News, the source said, “armed confrontations occurred between the Federal Police and al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) against Islamic State members in al-Khadra village in al-Zab town, southwest of Kirkuk.” The clashes, according to the source, who preferred anonymity, added that “three militants have been killed so far as the confrontations are still ongoing.” Security troops carry out operations, every now and then, in search for the dormant cells of IS.

Haidar Al-Abadi announces military operation in eastern Iraq

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Iraqi Prime Minister, Haidar al-Abadi announced on Tuesday a military operation to hunt for dormant Islamic State militants in Jazira area northeast of Baghdad and Euphrates heights. “We have started an operation in Jazira area and Euphrates heights to prevent the emergence of any terrorist group,” said Abadi at his weekly press conference in Baghdad. ISIS’ self-proclaimed “caliphate” effectively collapsed, when US-backed Iraqi forces completed the takeover of the militants’ capital in Mosul, after a nine-month campaign. Iraqi forces discovered a bomb-making factory in western Mosul, interior ministry said on Sunday. Iraqi Ministry of Interior said in a statement that a unit of Mosul directorate police found a factory where vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices (VBIED) and Improvised Explosive Devices (IED) were made by Islamic State in New Mosul neighborhood. The factory had 150 kilograms of ammonium nitrate used in the VBIEDs in Mosul, the ministry added.

Iraq will not allow its soil to be used for attack on Syria

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The Iraqi government spokesperson, Saad Hadithi, said on Tuesday that Baghdad will not allow the country’s soil to be used for attacks on Syria. Hadithi said in a statement that the Syrian conflict allowed ISIS extremists to emerge and flourish into Iraq in 2014. Baghdad will not launch any attack on Syria and let any operation from Iraqi soil against its neighbor Syria, Hadithi added. Baghdad attempts to maintain unity and stability for Syria in an effort to completely defeat ISIS and create the circumstances that will prevent its return, he said

Iraqi Oil minister says Ira completes southern crude pipeline

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Iraqi Oil Minister Jabar al-Luaibi said the country has completed the construction of a pipeline that will boost its oil exports from southern ports, Reuters reported. Oil-rich Iraq, which declared victory against Islamic State (ISIS) nationwide in December, is seeking to boost production and exports to fund its reconstruction after years of war.

In 2013, an Iraqi official said his country would pump 850,000 barrels per day down the pipeline to Jordan, which would be enough to cover Jordan’s needs and export the rest via Aqaba. Iraq sits on one of the world’s largest oil reserves — 153 billion barrels by Baghdad’s own estimates. Iraq delivered oil to Jordan for preferential prices under the UN oil-for-food programme during the rule of late dictator Saddam Hussein.

No positive response from Pakistan to terrorism

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During the “Progress on Peace and Stability in Afghanistan” at the US Institute of Peace, Afghan National Security Adviser Mohammad Hanif Atmar says the response from the Pakistan to terrorism has been mixed. He said that the consensus on how to fight the terrorists has broken slightly. Atmar added that there are nations in the region that draw a distinction between good and bad terrorists. Furthermore, the region actors all agreed to have state-to-state relations for counter terrorism, but there are some stat who look at state to non-state actors relations for counter-terrorism, like some that say they work with the Taliban against Daesh or against the ISIS. According to Atmar, this is unethical and self-defeating in terms of policy. Atmar said Afghanistan faces threat from a nexus of violent extremism, transnational criminalized networks and state sponsorship of terrorists, but it’s not just the Taliban and the Haqqani network that they are fighting. There is an increase of foreign fighters associated with at least three categories of terrorist networks. The global terrorist networks such as Al Qaeda, Daehs and ISIS-K. The regional terrorists such as IMU from Central Asia and China, and Pakistani terrorists such as Lashkar-e-Taiba, Tehreek-e-Taliban Pakistan and Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Killed 9 ISIS militants near Kirkuk

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The pro-government paramilitary troops announced that nine Islamic State militants, including a suicide attacker, have been killed in an operation in the west of Kirkuk. In a statement, the media service of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces) said: “An ambush was set, depending on information from the intelligence, leaving nine IS members killed in Wadi al-Rahma, north of al-Zab town in Hawija. One of them was a suicide attacker.” No further details were provided.

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