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Over 12000 observers monitor Iraqi elections


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.

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


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.

ISIS torches oil wells to slow advance of Iraqi forces near Hawija


Islamic State (ISIS) militants set fire to three oil wells near Hawija, west of Kirkuk, to slow down the advance of Iraqi forces, military and oil officials said. Iraqi security forces were using bulldozers to control the fires caused by the militants on Saturday (September 30) to slow down the advance of the Iraqi forces and Hashid al-Shaabi (Shia paramilitaries) towards Hawija, military officials said on Monday (October 2). “Terrorists are trying to use the rising smoke to avert air strikes while retreating from the area toward Hawija”, army Colonel Mohammed al-Jabouri said. Military officials said the fire of one of the wells had been controlled while the other two were still burning. The fires would take about three days to be put out, according to the officials.


Seven IS leaders, including top security chief killed in airstrike in Kirkuk


Seven Islamic State leaders, including a top security chief, were killed as U.S.-led Coalition jets bombarded the group’s holdout, southwest of Kirkuk, a local source said. “Coalition jets bombarded an IS location, where several leaders were there, in Hawija”, the source told AlSumaria News. “Preliminary information indicate death of around seven leaders including member in charge of securing the group’s leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi”. Speaking on condition of anonymity, the source added that the airstrike left several vehicles and tactic units of the group destroyed. Earlier on the day, the Defense Ministry’s War Media Cell said 557 IS militants were killed, while more than 100 villages and regions were liberated during the first phase of offensives in Hawija.

Armed attack, airstrikes leaves IS main funder, others killed in Hawija


A main funder of Islamic State has been killed in an armed attack in southwest of Kirkuk, a paramilitary official said on Friday. “A main IS funder in Hawija, who has several titles including abu Hamza, was killed on Friday in an armed attack that targeted his vehicle on an agricultural road in the town. One of his companions was injured”, Jabbar al-Maamouri, of al-Hashd al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilization Forces), told AlSumaria News. “According to the available information, the leader had money to provide the group with cash in order to secure its needs. His murder is considered another blow to the militants in Hawija”, he added. Earlier on Friday, the Iraqi air force urged the militants to turn in themselves in airdropped thousands of messages in Hawija.


Iraqi army highlights importance of civilian security ahead of Hawija operation


The evacuation of civilians will be a priority as plans to liberate the Hawija district in western Kirkuk from the Islamic State (IS) are underway, the Iraqi army said on Sunday. The Iraqi Defense Ministry released a statement on Saturday indicating that troops were redeployed in Kirkuk in preparation to recapture Hawija. Brigadier-General Yahya Rasul, a spokesperson for the Iraqi Army Joint Operations Command (JOC), said the safety of civilians in the district was important. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi declared victory over the militant group in Tal Afar, west of Mosul, on Sep. 1 just two weeks after the campaign began. Brigadier-General Rasul said the offensive to liberate Hawija would “be fundamentally different than that for Tal Afar”.


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