25 dead in attack at Iraq funeral of anti-Daesh fighters

In this file photo, Iraqi families pray over the graves of fighters killed in combat against Daesh in Iraq. (AFP)
Updated 13 April 2018
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25 dead in attack at Iraq funeral of anti-Daesh fighters

  • Two bombs exploded at a funeral for Iraqi fighters killed by Daesh extremists on Thursday.
  • The attack was the deadliest in Iraq since a January 16 double suicide bombing in Baghdad which claimed 31 lives.

Samarra, Iraq: At least 25 people were killed and 18 injured in Thursday’s bomb attack on funerals for Iraqi fighters killed by extremists, according to a new toll from police and medics.
“Two bombs exploded as the funeral procession was entering the cemetery” in Asdira, village mayor Salaheddin Shaalan told AFP.
The Sunni village is south of Sharqat, one of the last bastions of Daesh in the country’s north to be retaken by Iraqi forces.
“In total, 25 people were killed and 18 injured, four of whom are still in critical condition,” a police officer told AFP on Friday, on condition of anonymity, revising an earlier death toll.
Medical sources confirmed the new figures.
It was the deadliest attack in Iraq since a January 16 double suicide bombing in Baghdad claimed 31 lives.
Thursday’s attack took place during a funeral for five members of the Hashed Al-Shaabi paramilitary units killed Wednesday night in the same village, 250 kilometers (150 miles) north of Baghdad.
The mostly Shiite paramilitary units, which also include Sunni tribal forces, played a key role alongside the army in expelling militants from Iraqi towns last year.
The Iraqi government declared victory over Daesh in December after pushing Daesh extremists out of their final holdouts along the border with Syria.
But the group retains the capacity to strike despite losing control of vast swathes of Iraqi territory it seized in 2014.
It still clings to pockets of desert in war-torn Syria and appears to be able to cross the porous border between the two neighbors.
Militants sometimes manage to snatch control of roads at night, especially in the Salaheddin province where Thursday’s attack took place, and Anbar province along the border with Syria, security experts say.
Iraq is gearing up for legislative elections set for May 12.
Since the 2003 US-led invasion and the fall of Saddam Hussein’s regime, polls in Iraq have consistently been marred by violence.
But in the runup to next month’s elections, the country has enjoyed a respite from violence.


Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

Updated 23 September 2018
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Israel gives Bedouin villagers until end of month to leave

  • Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead
  • ‘No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force’

JERUSALEM: Israeli authorities issued a notice to residents of a Bedouin village in a strategic spot in the occupied West Bank on Sunday informing them they have until the end of the month to leave.
The fate of Khan Al-Ahmar has drawn international concern, with European countries calling on Israel not to move ahead with plans to demolish it.
Israel’s supreme court on September 5 rejected appeals against demolition, allowing authorities to move ahead.
Israel says the village was built without the proper permits, though it is extremely difficult for Palestinians to receive such permission in that part of the West Bank.
The notice given to the some 200 residents of Khan Al-Ahmar on Sunday says they have until the end of the month to demolish the village themselves.
“Pursuant to a supreme court ruling, residents of Khan Al-Ahmar received a notice today requiring them to demolish all the structures on the site by October 1st, 2018,” a statement from the Israeli defense ministry unit that oversees civilian affairs in the West Bank said.
It did not say what will happen if they refuse to do so. Village residents vowed not to leave despite the notice.
“No one will leave. We will have to be expelled by force,” said village spokesman Eid Abu Khamis, adding that a residents’ meeting would be held later on the issue.
“If the Israeli army comes to demolish, it will only be by force.”
The village is located in a strategic spot east of Jerusalem, near Israeli settlements and along a road leading to the Dead Sea.
There have been warnings that continued settlement building in the area would eventually divide the West Bank in two, dealing a death blow to any remaining hopes of a two-state solution.
Israeli authorities have offered alternative sites for Khan Al-Ahmar residents, but villagers say the first was near a rubbish dump and the latest close to a sewage treatment plant.