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.


Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

Updated 01 December 2020

Zarif ‘desperate’ to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran: Al-Jubeir

  • “It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran” minister tweeted

RIYADH: Saudi Arabia's Minister of State for Foreign Affairs Adel Al-Jubeir said on Tuesday Mohammad Zarif, Iranian foreign minister, was “desperate” to blame Saudi Arabia for anything negative that happens in Iran.

“Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif is desperate to blame the Kingdom for anything negative that happens in Iran. Will he blame us for the next earthquake or flood?” he tweeted.

“It is not the policy of Saudi Arabia to engage in assasinations; unlike Iran, which has done so since the Khomeini Revolution in 1979. Ask us, and ask many other countries who have lost many of their citizens due to Iran’s criminal and illegal behavior,” he added.

Al-Jubeir's comments come after Iranian nuclear scientist Mohsen Fakhrizadeh was killed in an ambush near Tehran on Friday.

Fakhrizadeh has been described by Western and Israeli intelligence services for years as the leader of a covert atomic bomb programme halted in 2003, which Israel and the United States accuse Tehran of trying to restore in secret.

Iran has blamed external entities, including Israel and an exiled opposition group, for the killing.