Iraq attacks at lowest since Daesh ‘caliphate’ declared: Study

A man rides out of the window of a car transporting one of the victims of a suicide car bomb attack in the northern Iraqi town of Tuz Khurmatu, near Iraq’s oil-rich multi-ethnic province of Kirkuk, on Tuesday. (AFP)
Updated 22 November 2017
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Iraq attacks at lowest since Daesh ‘caliphate’ declared: Study

BAGHDAD: The number of attacks in Iraq has fallen to its lowest since the Daesh group declared a “caliphate” in 2014, a study said Wednesday, with the militants reduced to scraps of territory.
“Non-state armed group attacks and resulting fatalities represented the lowest monthly totals since the formation of Daesh and the declaration of the caliphate in June 2014, highlighting the extent of the decrease in operational activity by the group in Iraq,” the Britain-based Jane’s Terrorism and Insurgency Center (JTIC) said.
“The 126 attacks in October represented almost half the peak recorded in January, while the 102 fatalities represented an 80.0 percent decrease from November 2016.”
The drop in violence came as Iraqi troops forced Daesh from the last few towns it held along the border with Syria, reducing its territory to just a few pockets of sparsely populated desert.
The defeats are the latest in a punishing campaign by government forces backed up by airstrikes by a US-led coalition that has seen Daesh ousted from its major strongholds, including Iraq’s second city Mosul.
As the group has lost ground it has increasingly turned to “asymmetric operations, typified by low-level attacks targeting the security forces and higher profile attacks against civilian sectarian targets,” the JTIC said.
In October, the militants carried out 15 suicide attacks that claimed seven lives, with the security forces succeeding in disrupting the vast majority of the attempts, the study said.
In a sign of how perilous the situation remains in Iraq, a suicide car bomber on Tuesday killed 24 people in an attack on a busy market in a town north of Baghdad. There was no immediate claim of responsibility.
While Daesh has lost territory in Iraq, it has also been ceding ground across the border in Syria, where it was forced from its last urban stronghold by regime forces last week.
Also on Wednesday, Iraqi officials have increased the death toll from a suicide attack in a contested town claimed by Baghdad and the Kurdish region to 36 people, up from 32.
Police and health officials said that 11 members of Iraq’s security forces were among the dead in the powerful explosion a day earlier in a marketplace in Tuz Khormato when a suicide bomber blew up his explosives-laden truck. He said 85 others were wounded.
The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to release information.
No group has immediately claimed responsibility for Tuesday’s attack. The town is about 210 kilometers (130 miles) north of Baghdad.
The top UN envoy to Iraq, Jan Kubis condemned the attack as “cowardly tactics against innocent civilians” and described those behind it as “terrorists.”


Israel destroys house of Palestinian charged with killing soldier

Updated 15 December 2018
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Israel destroys house of Palestinian charged with killing soldier

  • Israeli forces arrived at the El Amari camp before dawn on Saturday, sealed off the four-story Abu Humaid house and destroyed it
  • Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014

EL AMARI REFUGEE CAMP, West Bank: Israeli forces on Saturday demolished the family home of a Palestinian charged with killing an Israeli soldier in the occupied West Bank, the military and witnesses said.
Israel says Islam Abu Humaid, 32, threw a 40 pound (18 kg) marble plate from a rooftop, killing an Israeli special forces sergeant, Ronen Lubarsky, 20, during a May arrest raid in El Amari refugee camp in the Palestinian city of Ramallah.
Israeli forces arrived at the El Amari camp before dawn on Saturday, sealed off the four-story Abu Humaid house and destroyed it, the military said in a statement.
The Abu Humaid family home has been destroyed before and rebuilt. Two other Abu Humaid sons are in Israeli custody, charged with the killings of five Israelis, and another two face lengthy incarceration for serious security offenses.
A sixth Abu Humaid son was killed by Israeli forces in 1994 after himself being involved in a deadly ambush against an Israeli intelligence officer in the West Bank.
According to the indictment against him, Islam Abu Humaid told interrogators that he wanted to avenge the injury of one of his brothers in a previous Israeli army raid.
“What can we do? This is an enemy who thinks that by doing such actions they will terrorize us and make us fear them,” said Islam’s mother, Latifa Abu Humaid.
“On the contrary, our animosity becomes stronger, and with it our perseverance and strength.”
Israeli rights groups have criticized family-home demolitions of Palestinian attackers as acts of vengeance and collective punishment.
Israel’s Supreme Court has largely upheld the demolition policy. Israeli officials have termed it both punitive and a deterrence to potential attackers.
“The IDF (Israel Defense Forces) will continue operating in order to thwart terror and maintain security in the area,” the military said.
The Palestinian Foreign Ministry condemned the demolition.
Tensions flared this week in the West Bank with a string of Palestinian attacks that killed an Israeli baby and two Israeli soldiers and Israeli forces shot dead four suspected Palestinian assailants.
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said on Thursday that in response to the attacks, slated demolitions would be sped up.
Peace talks between Israel and the Palestinians broke down in 2014.