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28 killed in clashes, air strikes against IS in Iraq

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Baghdad, Up to 28 people were killed and 20 others wounded on Saturday in clashes and air strikes by Iraqi forces on Islamic State (IS) militants across the country, security sources said.

iraq-airstrikes-on-ISIL-MosulIn Iraq’s western province of Anbar, security forces and allied militias, known as Hashd Shaabi (popular mobilization), retook control of Abu Fleis village near Habbaniyah town, some 80 km west of Baghdad, after heavy clashes with IS militants that killed 14 IS fighters before the militants withdrew, a provincial security source told Xinhua.

The battle came a day after the IS militants seized Abu Fleis village in an attack on the positions of the security forces.

Meanwhile, clashes erupted in Tash area in south of the IS-held provincial capital city of Ramadi, some 110 km west of Baghdad, when IS militants attacked positions of security forces and Hashd Shaabi militias, leaving seven security members killed and five others injured.

The battles also resulted in the destruction of an armored vehicle and two military vehicles, the source said, without giving further details about casualties among the extremist militants.

Also in the province, two people were killed and eight others wounded when an Iraqi helicopter gunship pounded suspected IS positions in Mal’ab district in central Ramadi.

The IS group has seized most of Anbar province and has been trying to advance toward Baghdad in the past few months, but several counter attacks by security forces and Shia militias have pushed them back.

Near Baghdad, three roadside bombs went off simultaneously near an army patrol in Madain area, some 30 km south of the Iraqi capital, leaving four soldiers killed and four others wounded, an interior ministry source said.

In Salahudin province, a policeman was killed and three others were wounded in a clash with IS militants in Fat’ha area, just north of the town of Baiji, some 200 km north of Baghdad.

The security situation in Iraq has drastically deteriorated since June 10, 2014, when bloody clashes broke out between Iraqi security forces and IS militants.

(IANS)

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Iraq lifts ban on international flights to Kurdish airports

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Haider al-Abadi issues a statement lifting ban of international flights on international airports. IANS
Haider al-Abadi issues a statement lifting ban of international flights on international airports. IANS
  • Iraq lifts the ban on international flights to Kurdish airports
  • Prime minister, Haider al-Abadi issues a statement
  • He also talked about security o the airports

Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi on Tuesday lifted a ban on international flights to two airports in Erbil and Sulaimaniyah in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

A statement by his office said Abadi signed a decree to lift the ban after receiving positive response from the Kurdish local authorities “to restore the federal authority in the two airports in accordance with the Constitution of Iraq”.

Also Read: US Backtracks on Iraqi, Kurd Cease-fire Claim

Abadi made the announcement during his meeting with the officers of the regional Interior Ministry who were working at the two airports, Xinhua news agency cited the statement as saying.

He also said that a new security directorate will be established to protect the airports in the Kurdish region and it will be under command and control of the federal Interior Ministry.

All the regional airports and border crossings will be linked directly to the main control system in Baghdad, similar to what is done in the other Iraqi airports and crossing, the statement said.

He also talked about the security of airports.

The passports and national ID offices and the employees at the airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniyah will also be linked to the federal Interior Ministry, it added.

Tensions rose between Baghdad and the region of Kurdistan after the Kurds held a controversial referendum last September to approve the independence of the Kurdistan region and the disputed areas.

The Iraqi government later imposed the flights ban on the Kurdish region as part of a package of punitive measures that also included blocking all the border crossings outside the federal control.

The ban on international flights on the region’s international airports of Erbil and Sulaimaniyah forced passengers to apply for an Iraqi visa to transit through Baghdad and Basra international airports to go or leave the Kurdish region.

The independence of Kurdistan is opposed not only by the Iraqi central government, but also by other countries as it would threaten the territorial integrity of Iraq and undermine the fight against the terror group Islamic State.

Iraq’s neighbouring countries, especially Turkey, Iran and Syria, fear that the Iraqi Kurds’ pursuit of independence threatens their own territorial integrity by inspiring the Kurdish population in those countries to seek independence. IANS

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