Iraq forces oust Daesh from northern town in drive on Hawija

Iraqi pro-government forces reach al-Sejar village on the boundary of Fallujah, on May 28, 2016, as they take part in a major assault to retake the city from the Islamic State group Iraqi pro-government forces reach al-Sejar village on the boundary of Fallujah, on May 28, 2016, as they take part in a major assault to retake the city from the Islamic State group (AFP)
Updated 22 September 2017
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Iraq forces oust Daesh from northern town in drive on Hawija

SHARQAT, Sharqat, Iraq: Iraqi forces achieved the first goal of a new offensive against the Daesh group on just its second day Friday, penetrating the northern town of Sharqat, AFP correspondents said.
Some residents celebrated in the streets as government troops and paramilitaries entered the town center and tore down the black flags of the jihadists who had ruled it with an iron fist for more than three years.
AFP correspondents saw little major damage in the town, although there had been casualties in the fighting as they saw the bodies of two jihadists in the back of a pickup.
Sharqat was the first goal of a major offensive launched on Thursday to recapture an Daesh-held enclave centered on the insurgent bastion of Hawija, one of just two pockets still controlled by the jihadists in Iraq.
Sector operations chief General Abdel Amir Yarallah said some 20 villages around Sharqat had also been recaptured from Daesh.
The next goal is Hawija itself, some 30 kilometers (20 miles) to the southeast.
After the defeat of Daesh in second city Mosul in July and the recapture of adjacent areas, Hawija and neighboring towns form the last enclave still held by Daesh in Iraq apart from a section of the Euphrates Valley downstream from the border with Syria.
The mainly Sunni Arab enclave, which was bypassed by government forces in their advance north to Mosul last year, has been a bastion of insurgency ever since the first year of the US-led occupation in 2003.
The territory still held by Daesh in the “caliphate” straddling Iraq and Syria it proclaimed in 2014 has dwindled, with stronghold after stronghold coming under assault on both sides of the border.
Iraq soldiers, police and paramilitaries launched an offensive against the jihadists’s other remaining enclave earlier this week, pushing up the Euphrates Valley toward the Daesh-held towns of Anna, Rawa and Al-Qaim.


German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

Updated 17 min 53 sec ago
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German court says Kuwait Airways can bar Israeli passengers

  • The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany
  • Frankfurt court ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, it was “factually impossible” to transport the passenger

FRANKFURT: A German appeals court on Tuesday ruled that it could not prevent Kuwait Airways from banning Israeli passengers, even though it believed the policy amounted to discrimination.
The case was brought by an Israeli student living in Germany, who in 2016 bought a ticket online to travel from Frankfurt to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
The state-owned airline canceled the ticket soon after saying Kuwaiti law prohibits all commercial relations with Israelis and Israeli companies.
The higher regional court in Frankfurt ruled that because the flight required a stopover in Kuwait City, which is under Kuwaiti jurisdiction, it was “factually impossible” for the airline to transport the passenger.
The finding was similar to a ruling reached by a lower German court last year.
In a statement, the court acknowledged that the outcome was “unsatisfying” for the plaintiff but said it had no choice but to dismiss his demand to be able to book a new journey to Bangkok with Kuwait Airways.
A request for financial compensation was also denied.
The judges nevertheless slammed Kuwait’s Israel boycott as discriminatory and “incompatible with German values,” but said changing it was a matter for politicians.
The non-profit Lawfare project, which is representing the Israeli passenger, said it was considering a further appeal.
“This is a tragic day for German law,” said Lawfare’s executive director Brooke Goldstein.
“Rather than be held accountable before the law, the court has rewarded Kuwait Airways for its anti-Semitism.”
In 2015, Kuwait Airways opted to scrap all its flights between New York’s JFK airport and London Heathrow after US authorities threatened legal action over its refusal to sell tickets to Israelis.