Mourning after deadly new Daesh attack north of Baghdad

Although the Daesh group no longer holds territory in Iraq, sleeper cells continue to wage hit-and-run attacks. (AFP file photo)
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Updated 22 November 2020

Mourning after deadly new Daesh attack north of Baghdad

  • There was no claim by Daesh but both the mayor and police blamed the group
  • Although the militants no longer hold territory, sleeper cells wage hit-and-run attacks

SAMARRA, Iraq: Iraq’s Salahaddin province declared three days of mourning from Sunday over a deadly attack blamed on the Daesh group, as some criticized the state for failing to fight back militants.
Late Saturday, a roadside bomb hit a civilian car on an open road about 200 kilometers north of Baghdad, police and a local official said.
When security forces arrived to the scene, militants opened fire on them.
The attack killed at least six Iraqi security personal and four civilians, including one who died of his wounds overnight, according to local medics.
There was no claim by Daesh but both the mayor and police blamed the group, which Iraq’s government said it had defeated in late 2017.
That victory came after three years of brutal fighting to wrench back the one-third of Iraqi territory that had been captured by Daesh.
Although the militants no longer hold territory, sleeper cells wage hit-and-run attacks on state infrastructure, particularly in desert areas north of the capital.
Two weeks ago, 11 people were killed in an Daesh attack on a lookout post at Al-Radwaniyah on Baghdad’s outskirts, areas which are predominantly Sunni Muslim.
The attacks have coincided with a new campaign by Iraq’s security forces to arrest militants in hiding across the country — but some say it has not been enough.
“Iraqi security forces just assured us this area had been cleaned,” wrote Mashaan Al-Jaboury, a Sunni MP representing Salahaddin, on Twitter late Saturday.
For Jamal Al-Dhari, another Sunni figure writing on Twitter, the latest ambush “sheds light on the repeated failures in the fight against terrorism.”
“The government of Mustafa Al-Kadhemi must seriously put in placed a national strategy... and stop being satisfied with ‘investigative committees,’” said Dhari.
Iraqis regularly mock their government for establishing investigative bodies that do not produce results.
The tensions come as the US-led coalition, which helped Iraq fight Daesh starting in 2014, is drawing down its troops.
This year, the US has already shrunk its contribution to the coalition from 5,200 to some 3,000 troops, as other countries have reduced their numbers as well.
The US announced last week it would withdraw another 500 troops by mid-January.


Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

Updated 28 November 2020

Libyan deputies pledge to end divisions

  • At the end of talks, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions”
  • They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible”

TANGIER: More than 120 Libyan deputies pledged Saturday in Morocco to “end the divisions” that undermine their country, starting by convening the elected parliament as soon as they return home.
The House of Representatives has not met for two years, and Libya has been wracked by violence and chaos since the toppling and killing of dictator Muammar Qaddafi in 2011.
Two rival administrations have been vying for control of the country — the Government of National Accord and an eastern administration backed by part of the elected parliament.
The latter is deeply divided, with sessions taking place in parallel in the east and west.
At the end of five days of talks in Tangier, Morocco, 123 of the parliament’s 180 members pledged on Saturday to put an end to “hate speech” and “divisions” that undermine Libyan institutions.
They vowed to hold “parliamentary elections and to complete the transition as soon as possible,” and that all members of the House of Representatives would meet in session “as soon as they return” to Libya.
The session will take place in Ghadames, a desert oasis near Libya’s borders with both Algeria and Tunisia.
Ghadames is considered to be far from the centers of power.
“Having 123 deputies at the same table is in itself a success,” Moroccan Foreign Minister Nasser Bourita said.
“Libya needs a House of Representatives that plays its role... The next meeting in Libya will have a great impact on political dialogue,” he said.
The talks come at a time of increasing moves to break the deadlock in the country, which has Africa’s biggest oil reserves.
In mid-November, a UN-sponsored political dialogue forum in Tunis agreed to hold elections on December 24, 2021, but not on who will lead the transition.