Valdosta Daily Times

National, International News

January 6, 2014

Fighting between troops, al-Qaida kills 34

BAGHDAD — The Iraqi military tried to dislodge al-Qaida militants in Sunni-dominated Anbar province Sunday, unleashing airstrikes and besieging the regional capital in fighting that killed at least 34 people, officials said. A series of bombs in Shiite neighborhoods of Baghdad, meanwhile, killed at least 20 people.

The recent gains by the insurgents have been a blow to the Shiite-led government — as sectarian violence has escalated since the U.S. withdrawal. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington was “very, very concerned” by the fighting but would not send in American troops.

Video of the airstrikes in Anbar — apparently taken by aircraft at night — was released by Iraq’s Defense Ministry showing al-Qaida hideouts being bombarded. It showed men gathered around a vehicle, then running away as the site was struck.

A ministry statement said the air force struck a militants’ hideout overnight, identifying them as belonging to the al-Qaida-linked Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, which the government refers to as “terrorists.”

The army and allied tribesmen also fought al-Qaida militants around the provincial capital of Ramadi on Sunday, two Anbar government officials told The Associated Press by telephone. They said 22 soldiers and 12 civilians were killed, along with an unknown number of militants, and 58 people were wounded. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to brief reporters.

Clans inside the city of Fallujah have started to form brigades, they said, and some of the factions who fought the Americans following the U.S.-led invasion a decade ago say they do not want the Iraqi army to enter the city. There was no fighting inside the city on Sunday.

Government troops, backed by Sunni tribesmen who oppose al-Qaida, have encircled Fallujah for several days, and have entered parts of Ramadi. On Friday, troops bombarded militant positions outside Fallujah with artillery, a military official said, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to release information.  

The deadliest attack Sunday in Baghdad took place in the northern Shiite Shaab neighborhood, where two car bombs exploded simultaneously near a restaurant and a tea house. Officials say those blasts killed 10 people and wounded 26.

Authorities said a car bomb ripped through the capital’s eastern Shiite district of Sadr City, killing five and wounding 10. Another bombing killed three civilians and wounded six in a commercial area in the central Bab al-Muadham neighborhood, officials said. Two other bombings killed two civilians and wounded 13, police said.

Medical officials confirmed the causality figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to release information.  

Clashes have been taking place since Monday in Ramadi and nearby Fallujah, and the Baghdad bombings could be seen as an attempt by militants to distract security forces.

Earlier on Sunday, a senior Iraqi military commander said that it will take a few days to fully dislodge al-Qaida-linked fighters in the two cities.

Lt. Gen. Rasheed Fleih, who leads the Anbar Military Command, told state TV Sunday that “two to three days” are needed to push the militants out of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi. Fleih added that pro-government Sunni tribes are leading the operations while the army only is offering aerial cover and logistics on the ground. He didn’t elaborate on the operations.

“The quiet and safe life that is sought by the Anbaris will not be completely restored before few hours or two to three days, God willing,” Fleih said.

Ramadi was a stronghold of Sunni insurgents during the U.S. war. Al-Qaida militants largely took both cities over last week and have been fending off incursions by government forces there since.

ISIL is also one of the strongest rebel units in neighboring Syria, where it has imposed a strict version of Islamic law in territories it holds in the civil war raging there. It also has kidnapped and killed dozens of people it deems critical of its rule. On Saturday, it claimed responsibility for a suicide car bombing in a Shiite-dominated neighborhood in Lebanon.

Tensions in Anbar have run high since Dec. 28, when Iraqi security forces arrested a Sunni lawmaker sought for terrorism charges. Two days later, the government dismantled a months-old, anti-government Sunni protest camp, sparking clashes with militants.

To ease the tension, the government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki withdrew army forces from the cities. Sunni lawmakers see the army as a tool of al-Maliki to target his rivals and consolidate power.

Kerry said the U.S. would support Iraq in its battle with al-Qaida, but without sending in troops.

The U.S. was “very, very concerned” by the fighting, he told reporters as he left Jerusalem for Jordan and Saudi Arabia on Sunday to discuss his effort to broker peace between Israel and the Palestinians. However, he said the U.S. would not send ground troops in to support Iraqi forces.

The U.S. recently supplied Iraq with Hellfire missiles often used against militants.

Violence in Iraq spiked in April after the government staged a crackdown on a major Sunni protest camp. Iraq’s al-Qaida branch has fed on Sunni discontent and on the civil war in neighboring Syria, in which mostly Sunni rebels fight a government whose base is a Shiite offshoot sect.

Militants have targeted civilians, particularly in Shiite areas of Baghdad, with waves of coordinated car bombings and other deadly attacks.

According to the U.N., Iraq had the highest annual death toll in 2013 since the worst of the country’s sectarian bloodletting began to subside in 2007. The U.N. said violence killed 8,868 last year.

1
Text Only
National, International News
  • Another arrest made in kidnapping

    Another arrest was made in the kidnapping of a North Carolina prosecutor’s father, federal investigators said Thursday.
    Quantavious Thompson was taken into custody late Wednesday afternoon, FBI spokeswoman Shelley Lynch said in a statement. Details on his arrest weren’t immediately available.

    April 18, 2014

  • Boston Marathon Bombi_Rich copy.jpg Questions linger year after Boston Marathon bombs

    A surveillance video shows a man prosecutors say is Dzhokhar Tsarnaev placing a bomb near the finish line of the Boston Marathon, just yards from where an 8-year-old boy was killed when it exploded.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP120401029 copy.jpg Today in History for Tuesday, April 15, 2014

    Today is Tuesday, April 15, the 105th day of 2014. There are 260 days left in the year.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Space Station_Rich copy.jpg NASA OKs space station visit despite dead computer

    NASA is pressing ahead with Monday’s planned launch of a supply ship despite a critical computer outage at the International Space Station, promising the situation is safe.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Fatal Shooting Kansas_Rich copy.jpg 3 dead after suburban Kansas City shooting

    A man opened fire outside a Jewish community center on Sunday, killing two people before driving over to a retirement community a few blocks away and killing someone else, authorities said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Seven Dead Babies Arr_Rich(1) copy.jpg Utah woman arrested after 7 dead babies found

    A Utah woman accused of killing several babies she gave birth to over 10 years was arrested Sunday after police discovered seven tiny bodies stuffed in separate cardboard boxes in the garage of her former home.
    Megan Huntsman, 39, who lived in the Pleasant Grove home until three years ago, had the infants between 1996 and 2006, investigators said.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • AP110714053482 copy.jpg Today in History for Monday, April 14, 2014

    Today is Monday, April 14, the 104th day of 2014. There are 261 days left in the year. The Jewish holiday Passover begins at sunset.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Range Showdow_Rich copy.jpg Feds release cows gathered in Nevada roundup

    Federal land managers confirmed Saturday that they released all 400 or so head of cattle rounded up on public land in southern Nevada from a rancher who has refused to recognize their authority.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • APTOPIX Ukraine_Rich copy.jpg Uniformed men occupy Donetsk police HQ

    Men in the uniforms of Ukraine’s now-defunct riot police on Saturday occupied police headquarters in Donetsk, the eastern city that is one of the flashpoints of a wave of pro-Russia protests, hours after armed men seized local police headquarters and a local branch of the Security Service in a nearby city.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

  • Australia Malaysia Pl_Rich copy.jpg Long hunt for missing jet looms as pings go silent

    After a week of optimism over four underwater signals believed to be coming from the missing Malaysian plane, the sea has gone quiet and Australia’s leader is warning that the massive search will likely be long.

    April 13, 2014 1 Photo

Top News
Poll

What you think about school and workplace rules about Facebook friends?

There have to be rules.
No need for rules, just use common sense.
If people want to be friends, what is the big deal?
Nobody uses Facebook anymore.
     View Results