Tag Archives: Mosul

Iraq's Mosul celebrates first post-IS Christmas

Iraq's Mosul celebrates first post-IS ChristmasHymns and cries of joy filled a church in Iraq’s second city Mosul on Sunday as worshippers celebrated Christmas there for the first time in four years after the end of jihadist rule. “This is a sign that life is returning to Mosul,” said wheelchair-bound Hossam Abud, 48, who returned earlier this month from exile in Iraqi Kurdistan. Patriarch Louis Raphael Sako of Iraq’s Chaldean Catholic Church called on the congregation to pray for “peace and stability in Mosul, Iraq and the world”.



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Iraq launches operation to take back IS-held town near Mosul

Iraq launches operation to take back IS-held town near MosulABU GHADDUR, Iraq (AP) — U.S.-backed Iraqi forces on Sunday launched a multi-pronged assault to retake the town of Tal Afar, west of Mosul, marking the next phase in the country's war on the Islamic State group.



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Iraq launches battle for Tal Afar, IS bastion near Mosul

Iraq launches battle for Tal Afar, IS bastion near MosulIraqi forces on Sunday pounded the Islamic State group in Tal Afar, one of its last bastions in the country, in a new assault just weeks after ousting IS from second city Mosul. Once a key IS supply hub between Mosul — around 70 kilometres (45 miles) further east — and the Syrian border, Tal Afar is the last major population centre in northern Iraq under jihadist control. Weeks after recapturing Mosul in a major blow to the jihadists, convoys of Iraqi forces around Tal Afar began pounding IS positions from three sides at dawn Sunday.



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Islamic State claims attack on U.S. forces west of Mosul

Islamic State claims attack on U.S. forces west of MosulIslamic State on Sunday claimed an attack on U.S. forces assisting Iraqi troops in the war on the jihadist militants in northern Iraq. Islamic State fighters fired Grad rockets on American troops east of Tal Afar, a town still under control of the militants west of Mosul, according to an online statement from the group. The American military had said earlier that two U.S. service members had been killed and five injured during combat operations in northern Iraq on Sunday.



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In 'liberated' Mosul, ISIS still imperils the path to city's revival

In 'liberated' Mosul, ISIS still imperils the path to city's revivalThe first sign Ghaith Ali had that Islamic State militants were still active in “liberated” western Mosul was a mysterious square object on the floor of a house he entered to make it ready for returning families. “Our mission was to clear houses before civilians come back, to say ‘Your house is good,’” says Ali, a short-haired young man with a thin mustache and slight build, speaking in an Erbil hospital for war victims run by the Italian agency Emergency.



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Iraqi forces recapture village south of Mosul from Islamic State: police

Iraqi forces recapture village south of Mosul from Islamic State: policeIraqi forces on Thursday regained control over Imam Gharbi, a village south of Mosul, from Islamic State militants who had seized it as their defense of their stronghold in the city crumbled, Iraqi police said. The action formed part of the next phase of the U.S.-backed government’s campaign to drive Islamic State from Iraq and dismantle their self-proclaimed caliphate. Police Colonel Kareem Aboud said government forces took full control of Imam Gharbi at dawn.



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Iraqi officer seeks vengeance in Mosul, where killings mount

Iraqi officer seeks vengeance in Mosul, where killings mountMOSUL, Iraq (AP) — For one Iraqi lieutenant, the fight against the Islamic State group in Mosul has been a slow, methodical quest for revenge. For three years, he has hunted for two IS militants from his village who he believes killed his father. Along the way, he has shot to death detained militants after interrogating them, he acknowledges unapologetically.



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Pictures reveal Iraqi forces holding Isil suspects 100 to a room outside Mosul

Pictures reveal Iraqi forces holding Isil suspects 100 to a room outside MosulHundreds of suspected Islamic State members swept up by Iraqi forces in Mosul are being held in a cramped and stifling prison just outside the city. Associated Press reporters visiting the facility saw more than 100 prisoners packed into a dark room, lined up shoulder to shoulder on the floor. There was no electricity or ventilation, despite daytime temperatures well over 45 C. The Iraqi officer who oversees the facility said it currently holds some 370 prisoners. He says authorities were overwhelmed with detainees as Iraqi forces cleared the last neighborhoods of the city earlier this month at the end of a grueling nine-month campaign. Associated Press reporters visiting the facility saw more than 100 prisoners packed into a dark room, lined up shoulder to shoulder on the floor.  Credit: AP "Prisoners are infected with diseases, lots of health and skin problems, because they're not exposed to the sun," he said. "The majority can't walk. Their legs are swollen because they can't move." He said a provincial health team checks on the prisoners "occasionally." More than 1,150 detainees have passed through the prison over the past three months, with 540 sent to Baghdad for further investigation, the officer said. Another 2,800 prisoners are being held in the Qayara air base south of Mosul, and hundreds more in a few smaller facilities. The officer spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to brief reporters. The Islamic State group seized Mosul when it swept across northern and central Iraq in the summer of 2014. There was no electricity or ventilation, despite daytime temperatures well over 110 degrees F (45 C).  Credit: AP As U.S.-backed Iraqi forces battled block by block to retake the city, the militants rounded up civilians and used them as human shields. Many fighters also fled the city by hiding among fleeing residents, complicating efforts by Iraqi forces to separate the militants from civilians. Prisoners who were discreetly interviewed by the AP insisted they were innocent. They spoke on condition of anonymity, fearing reprisals. "You won't find 10 real (IS members) among these guys. And all of them have spent more than six months here," one prisoner said out of earshot of the guards. "Since I got here eight months ago, I've only seen the sun once." He said he was a civil servant and had traveled between Baghdad and Mosul on several previous occasions before being detained. Extradjudicial execution of suspected Isil fighters is rife in Mosul "They said my name was in their database. I haven't seen any court or judge. I don't even know what I'm accused of. A lot of names are the same," he said. He said two prisoners had died in the packed holding cell. Some prisoners "have pus coming out of their wounds. Once they go to the hospital, they come back with amputated legs or arms." "We really want to die," another prisoner said. "None of us have received any visitors, relatives, family members. They don't even know where we are."



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Teenage Isil bride from Germany captured in Mosul

Teenage Isil bride from Germany captured in MosulA 16-year-old German Islamic State bride, who reportedly joined the jihadist group after being radicalised online, has been captured by Iraqi forces in Mosul.  Linda Wenzel, from the small town of Pulsnitz, near Dresden, was discovered by troops with a group of 20 other suspected foreign female Isil members in a tunnel under the Old City on Thursday. Pictures shared on social media show the girl being escorted by security forces, appearing pale and unveiled but wearing a colourful scarf around her neck.  Social media images alleging to show an Isil sniper believed to be 16-year-old German Linda W Credit: Twitter She appears pale, afraid and covered in dust, unveiled but wearing a colourful scarf around her neck.  She was initially mistaken for a kidnapped Yazidi girl because of her lack of Arabic. Linda was reported missing from her home a year ago, where she had been living with her mother, Katharina, and step-father, Thomas.  She grew up in a Protestant family, and had not showed any interest in religion until a few months before her disappearance. In the spring of 2016 she told her parents for the first time that she was interested in Islam. Friends in Pulsnitz say she converted to Islam around this time and was radicalised online in chat rooms. She started learning Arabic, taking the Koran to school, wearing conservative clothing and becoming fascinated with Islam before her disappearance.  Police believe she had fallen in love with a Muslim man she met online who persuaded her to move to Syria to join him.   Image posted by Vian Dakhil, Yazidi member of Iraq's council of representatives Credit: Twitter She disappeared last July after telling her parents she wanted to stay the weekend at a friend's house.  She travelled to Istanbul posing as her mother Katharina, and then down to Turkey’s border with Syria, where she crossed with the help of an Islamist group aligned with Isil.  The jihadists then handed her over to an Isil fighter who is believed to have groomed her over the internet and convinced her to travel to the group’s so-called caliphate.  Linda is thought to have made it to Mosul before the Iraqi army launched the offensive to retake the city in October.  Iraqi forces image allegedly showing an Isil sniper believed to be 16-year-old German Linda Wentzel Credit: Iraqi army Until six months before she fled to join Isil, she had never even travelled by train alone.  "I am devastated by the fact that she was apparently completely brainwashed and persuaded to leave the country by someone and that she managed to hide it from me," Mrs Wenzel said last July. When she searched her room, Mrs Wenzel found an Islamic prayer mat and a tablet computer with a second Facebook account they did not know about on it.  On this second account Linda was in touch with people in the Middle East and shared messages such as "Pray, the end is approaching".  Linda Wentzel, aged 16, orignally from Pulsnitz near Dresden in Germany Credit: ENTERPRISE NEWS AND PICTURES  "At the moment the priority is to determine whether this is Linda W or not. The police will undertake all necessary investigations,” Lorenz Haase, chief prosecutor and spokesman for the Dresden prosecutor's office, told the Telegraph. "If it is confirmed, we would reopen criminal proceedings against her which were set aside. We had set aside the proceedings on the grounds we did not know her whereabouts and she is a minor. She is understood to have been handed over to American troops stationed in Iraq for questioning.  Four other German women were also reportedly discovered last week in a tunnel system built by Isil.  A little girl named Amina was found by Iraqi Army soldiers when they heard her cries from the rubble.  Credit: Rex Iraqi forces say they discovered weapons and suicide belts at the site, presumably to be used for assaults on soldiers.  They were part of a group of 20 female fighters, including Russian, Turkish, Canadian and Chechen, apprehended in the last remaining pocket of Isil territory in Mosul.  It is not clear whether Linda and the other women will be held in Iraq or deported back to Germany to face trial. A senior Iraqi judge told the Telegraph earlier this year that foreign members of Isil would be tried in Iraqi courts, however as she is considered a minor they may decide to extradite her. Only a handful of European Isil members under 18 year of age have ever been detained, most of whom after voluntarily returning home. 



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Amid the rubble of Mosul, bitter memories and the stench of death

Amid the rubble of Mosul, bitter memories and the stench of deathBodies of dead Islamic State fighters still lay in the streets of west Mosul. The stench of death, a mixture of bodily waste and rotting flesh, mingled with the smell of garbage that hung in the air. As Iraqi forces extend their control over the city, killing or chasing away remaining ISIS fighters, they encounter reminders of the regime imposed by the militant cleric Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, who declared a new Islamic caliphate at the Great Mosque of al-Nuri.



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