22 August 2019
English Arabic

IS militants seize Anbar base in advance on Baghdad

Tuesday, 14 October 2014 20:28

Deutsche Welle - "Islamic State" militants have captured a military training camp in western Iraq as they move to completely take over Anbar province. Blasts were also reported in the outskirts of the Iraqi capital, Baghdad.

Jihadist militants from the self-proclaimed "Islamic State" (IS) on Monday seized an army base near the Iraqi town of Hit, local media and witnesses reported. Iraqi soldiers were forced to withdraw from the area after hours of clashes with the militants, the Al-Mada Press said.

The militants captured the town of Hit earlier this month. The United Nations said on Sunday that clashes in and around the town have displaced some 180,000 people, many of whom had fled there from other regions previously seized by IS.

The capture of the military base marks a further step in the advance of the militants into the western Sunni-dominated province of Anbar, which extends from the western edge of the capital, Baghdad, to the Syrian border. The IS advance threatens to cut off those security forces still in the province, with Iraqi troops still reeling from the IS summer offensive that saw the group take over large amounts of territory in western and northern Iraq.

Blasts in Baghdad

According to the Iraqi News Agency, three blasts rocked Shiite neighborhoods late on Monday, killing 30 people and injuring at least 60 others. The blasts targeted the Kadhimiyah, Sadr City and Habibiyah districts, the agency reported.

Earlier, police officials said that 24 IS fighters were killed and 16 injured when Kurdish Peshmerga forces shelled a training camp where the militants were holding a graduation parade for recruits, near al-Muqdadiyah just northeast of the Iraqi capital.

Reprisal violence against Sunnis

Meanwhile, Shiite militias backed by the Iraqi army are committing war crimes against civilians in their fightback against the Islamic State jihadist group, rights watchdog Amnesty International said Tuesday.

It accused the Baghdad government of supporting and arming groups of Shiite fighters who have carried out a string of kidnappings and killings against Sunni civilians in response to IS's capture of swathes of Iraqi territory in June.

Amnesty said it had seen evidence of "scores" of "deliberate execution style killings" against Sunnis across Iraq as well as Sunni families having to pay tens of thousands of dollars to free abducted relatives.

The watchdog called on the government of newly-installed Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi to rein in the scores of militias targeting civilians across Iraq.

"By granting its blessing to militias who routinely commit such abhorrent abuses, the Iraqi government is sanctioning war crimes and fuelling a dangerous cycle of sectarian violence that is tearing the country apart," said Donatella Rovera, Amnesty International's senior crisis response adviser.

The Sunni extremist fighters of IS seized control of swathes of territory in a June offensive that saw many Iraqi army units abandon their posts.

The group now controls large parts of western and northern Iraq, including the country's second city of Mosul.

Read more: http://www.dw.de/is-militants-seize-anbar-base-in-advance-on-baghdad/a-17994503

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