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Iraqi Forces Seek Clues to how Islamic State Militants Ruled Iraqi Villages for more than 2 Years

Peshmerga soldiers, the Iraqi Army and Shiite militias are all fighting IS together, but tensions remain among them

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Iraqi Kurdish Peshmerga forces. Flickr
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Tarjala (Iraq), November 2, 2016: About 10 kilometers from the front lines of the battle to retake Mosul, peshmerga soldiers tour an area recently recaptured from Islamic State militants. They say they’ve learned a lot about how the militant group works from examining the ruins of what were once bustling villages.

A bomb factory was installed in one shop and oil was burnt to hide the village from coalition forces, according to the soldiers.

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Iraqi and Iraqi Kurdish peshmerga forces are exploring recaptured villages for insight into how Islamic State took and held these villages for more than two years.

Islamic State militants left supplies and food in the tunnels when they fled in Tarjala in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Oct. 29, 2016. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Islamic State militants left supplies and food in the tunnels when they fled in Tarjala in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Oct. 29, 2016. (H. Murdock/VOA)

“We don’t exactly know how many IS members were here,” said a peshmerga commander, Tahir Aziz. “But since the bodies of the dead remain here, we know how many were killed. We don’t know how many escaped.”

On one end of the village, sandbags fill most of a mosque because IS militants put them inside rather than outside — a ploy to hide IS positions from coalition planes. Peshmerga slip down the tunnel IS built under the village, examining the militants’ escape route from their enemies.

While this kind of knowledge helps, soldiers say, fighting IS remains incredibly complicated.

Militants stored bags full of the dirt they pulled from the tunnels inside a mosque, so visible sandbags would not give away their position to coalition planes in Tarjala in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Oct. 29, 2016. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Militants stored bags full of the dirt they pulled from the tunnels inside a mosque, so visible sandbags would not give away their position to coalition planes in Tarjala in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Oct. 29, 2016. (H. Murdock/VOA)

“The challenges that remain are the car bombs and suicide bombs,” said Lt. Col. Osman Ali of the peshmerga. “Also, we have weapons, but we are not as well equipped as the Iraqi Army. We need more and better weapons.”

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At the other end of the tunnel, soldiers emerge. They say they will keep fighting until the militant group is crushed.

Peshmerga soldiers, the Iraqi Army and Shiite militias are all fighting IS together, but tensions remain among them.

Peshmerga soldiers examine a tunnel build by Islamic State militants, one of the ways the group managed to hold villages for more than two years in Tarjala in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Oct. 29, 2016. (H. Murdock/VOA)
Peshmerga soldiers examine a tunnel build by Islamic State militants, one of the ways the group managed to hold villages for more than two years in Tarjala in the Kurdish region of northern Iraq, Oct. 29, 2016. (H. Murdock/VOA)

Even as these forces clear more areas of IS fighters, many people are frustrated because they still cannot go home, as rubble, bombs and bodies make the villages unsafe.

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“We don’t want to live outside of our homes,” said Raad Ibrahim, a 35-year old father of one, as he waits outside a checkpoint Saturday, trying to get permission to visit his home. “I don’t know anything about what is there. But I’m sure it’s destroyed.” (VOA)

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FIFA World Cup 2018: Indian Cuisine becomes the most sought after in Moscow

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Indian cuisine in FIFA World cup
Indian dishes available in Moscow during FIFA World Cup 2018, representational image, wikimedia commons

June 17, 2018:

Restaurateurs Prodyut and Sumana Mukherjee have not only brought Indian cuisine to the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018 here but also plan to dish out free dinner to countrymen if Argentina wins the trophy on July 15.

Based in Moscow for the last 27 years, Prodyut and Sumana run two Indian eateries, “Talk Of The Town” and “Fusion Plaza”.

You may like to read more on Indian cuisine: Indian ‘masala’, among other condiments spicing up global food palate.

Both restaurants serve popular Indian dishes like butter chicken, kebabs and a varied vegetarian spread.

During the ongoing FIFA World Cup 2018, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

The Mukherjees, hailing from Kolkata, are die-hard fans of Argentina. Despite Albiceleste drawing 1-1 with Iceland in their group opener with Lionel Messi failing to sparkle, they believe Jorge Sampaoli’s team can go the distance.

“I am an Argentina fan. I have booked tickets for a quarterfinal match, a semifinal and of course the final. If Argentina goes on to lift

During the World Cup, there will be 25 per cent discount for those who will possess a Fan ID (required to watch World Cup games).

There will also be gifts and contests on offers during matches in both the restaurants to celebrate the event.

FIFA World Cup 2018 Russia
FIFA World Cup 2018, Wikimedia Commons.

“We have been waiting for this World Cup. Indians come in large numbers during the World Cup and we wanted these eateries to be a melting point,” he added.

According to Cutting Edge Events, FIFA’s official sales agency in India for the 2018 World Cup, India is amongst the top 10 countries in terms of number of match tickets bought.

Read more about Indian cuisine abroad: Hindoostane Coffee House: London’s First Indian Restaurant.

Prodyut came to Moscow to study engineering and later started working for a pharmaceutical company here before trying his hand in business. Besides running the two restaurants with the help of his wife, he was into the distribution of pharmaceutical products.

“After Russia won the first match of the World Cup, the footfall has gone up considerably. The Indians are also flooding in after the 6-9 p.m. game. That is the time both my restaurants remain full,” Prodyut said.

There are also plans to rope in registered fan clubs of Latin American countries, who will throng the restaurants during matches and then follow it up with after-game parties till the wee hours.

“I did get in touch with some of the fan clubs I had prior idea about. They agreed to come over and celebrate the games at our joints. Those will be gala nights when both eateries will remain open all night for them to enjoy,” Prodyut said.

Watching the World Cup is a dream come true for the couple, Sumana said.

“We want to make the Indians who have come here to witness the spectacle and feel at home too. We always extend a helping hand and since we are from West Bengal, we make special dishes for those who come from Bengal,” she added. (IANS)