Iraq forces battle militants north of Baghdad

By AFP
Published: June 13, 2014
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Iraqi policemen man a checkpoint in the capital Baghdad on June 12, 2014, as rebels and anti-government fighters have spearheaded a major offensive that overrun all of Nineveh province. PHOTO: AFP

Iraqi policemen man a checkpoint in the capital Baghdad on June 12, 2014, as rebels and anti-government fighters have spearheaded a major offensive that overrun all of Nineveh province. PHOTO: AFP

BAQUBA: Iraqi forces clashed with militants advancing on the city of Baquba, just 50 kilometres north of Baghdad, on Friday, as an offensive spearheaded by fighters drew closer to the capital.

Security forces were battling militants on the outskirts of Muqdadiyah, 35 kilometres northeast of Baquba, police and army officers said.

Baquba is the capital of Diyala province, whose mixed Arab, Kurdish, Sunni and Shia population has made it a byword for violence ever since the US-led inavasion of 2003.

The militants have already captured two provincial capitals this week – Tikrit in Salaheddin province and second city Mosul in Nineveh.

President Barack Obama said Washington was examining “all the options” to help Iraq’s beleaguered security forces resist the offensive, spearheaded by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), which began in Mosul late on Monday.

Washington has found rare common cause with its longtime foe Tehran, with both voicing dismay at the extremists’ advance and pledging to boost aid to the government.

ISIL spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani vowed its fighters would press on to the capital and, further south, to Karbala, visited by millions of pilgrims from around the world each year.

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Reader Comments (5)

  • Syed Rizvi
    Jun 14, 2014 - 1:21AM

    Its supposedly the biggest news in the World now and as always Pakistani media is not highlighting it.

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  • Jun 14, 2014 - 6:28AM

    @Syed Rizvi:

    I noticed it too. Its that same old biased defensive avoidance and denial of the existence and reality of global sectarian extremism and ideological crisis, that includes our population in Pak, simply because of the blame a shared privileged background sect may get….

    Being mute just seems like subtle condoning…

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  • vinsin
    Jun 14, 2014 - 7:51PM

    @bigsaf:
    I have a different take. They are not doing in the subcontinent just to avoid clashes between two most prominent muslim sect. Which I think not a good idea in a media information world. There is going to be rise in sectarian issue in subcontinent. Pak issue comes from an agency whereas India it come from pseudo secularism.

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  • Jun 14, 2014 - 11:12PM

    @vinsin:

    It is not media information that is driving the violence, but the rise of sectarian and religious extremists that already exist, and the rise in it isn’t because we speak about it, but because we don’t speak out against it and identify the bigotry and ideologies behind it. Canada clearly NAMES what their top extremist threat and its ideological sectarian background is (I’d like to repeat and state it here, but don’t want my comment unpublished), but we don’t out of ridiculous fear and bias.

    When are we going to be honest, transparent and recognize this is where we most have to deal? Sectarianism and religous-political extremism existed way before the media and still it wasn’t dealt with. When you say it comes from an agency, I really hope you’re not referring to ‘foreign agents’, or ‘Indian agents’. As a minority myself, you may think you’re being sincere, but this comes out as a delusional excuse and denial, which is inherently dishonest and betrays victims, particularly minorities, of terrorism, and such deflection will never lead to a solution.

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  • Syed Rizvi
    Jun 15, 2014 - 4:35PM

    @bigsaf:
    Oh we were told that its a sectarian issue in Syria. But in reality it turned out that Americans wanted Bashar al Assad kicked out and Iran didn’t. How naive people are to see Iran vs USA a sectarian issue. Even Americans now openly admit that we were/are/will support to get rid of anyone Pro Iran from Syria by the help of Saudia & Turkey.

    Sectarianism is a real issue amongst Muslims but Syria & now Iraq isn’t. Just don’t believe western media that blindly. Follow the money and who benefits from sectarianism.

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