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.
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.
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.”
During a meeting with Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari, Turkish Minister of Customs and Trade Bulent Tufenkegi expressed on Saturday (May 5) expressed his country’s desire to expand the Ibrahim al-Khalil crossing with Iraq and to open an additional gate in Feshkhabur in northwestern Iraq. “The unity, stability, and well-being of Iraq are the stability of Turkey. Iraq is a strong economic partner of Turkey and Turkish companies account for a large percentage of foreign companies in its southern neighbor,” he said. “Turkey is hosting a forum for the reconstruction of Iraq and providing investment support. [We are also convening] meetings of the Federation of Iraqi Chambers of Commerce and the Turkish Foreign Trade Relations Commission and meetings between Iraqi banks and Turkish banks, to increase the volume of cooperation,” he said.
Baghdad took control of the Ibrahim Khalil and Feshkhabur border crossings with Turkey following law enforcement and security operations carried out in the disputed areas with the Kurdistan region in October. The 18th session of the Iraqi-Turkish Joint Committee for Economic and Technical Cooperation was held in Ankara on Saturday, during which the minutes of the meetings were signed, including the activation of the comprehensive economic partnership agreements signed in 2009, the promotion and protection of mutual investments. Additionally, they discussed the issues of water, energy, industry, agriculture, health, environment, culture, tourism, education, science, and technology, “according to Jaafari.
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.
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.
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.
The President of the New Generation Movement, Shaswar Abdulwahid said that new people will emerge and become influential in Iraq’s political affairs, as the country approaches the parliamentary election on May 12. New Generation Movement held a rally in Baghdad on Friday, saying Iraqis should try and choose a new group of politicians as the older parties have already been tested. The Movement wants youths to participate in the political arena, Abdulwahid added. The New Generation also wants to harness youth’s energy and ability in all the provinces of Iraq.
“Whatever youths have, they should give it to the Iraqi nation,” he said. The lives of the Iraqis should be changed as the country has “great revenue”, the Movement’s president noted. Iraq must progress in order to have a strong economy. “We must co-exist. There must not be religious and national differences.” The New Generation Movement is fielding 150 candidates across Iraq in the upcoming elections.
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.
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.