Report

Iraqi Forces Make Gains Against the Islamic State in Tikrit

Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militias advanced into the city of Tikrit on two fronts Wednesday, marking a significant step in a larger offensive to take back northern Iraq from the Islamic State. U.S. warplanes have not provided air support for the advancing troops, seemingly because of the prominent role played by Shiite militias ...

tikrit

Iraqi security forces and allied Shiite militias advanced into the city of Tikrit on two fronts Wednesday, marking a significant step in a larger offensive to take back northern Iraq from the Islamic State. U.S. warplanes have not provided air support for the advancing troops, seemingly because of the prominent role played by Shiite militias in the offensive. Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Martin Dempsey said on Wednesday that the militias “dramatically” outnumbered the Iraqi military, accounting for roughly 20,000 of the 30,000 fighters combating the Islamic State.

The head of military operations said that Iraqi forces would attempt to enter the center of Tikrit on Thursday. Even if the city is wrested from the Islamic State, however, security analysts are concerned that it could be the scene of guerilla fighting for months to come.

Family of Palestinian Executed by Islamic State Denies He Was Spy

The family of Mohamed Musallam, a 20-year old Palestinian from East Jerusalem, denied the jihadist group’s claim that he was a spy for Israel’s Mossad. In a video released Tuesday showing Musallam’s execution, Musallam admitted under duress to having worked for the intelligence agency. Musallam’s father said that his son went to Syria after being promised women, money, and excitement, but quickly became frightened of the U.S. airstrikes and his own commander.

Headlines

  • The passage of Congressional authorization to fight the Islamic State is imperiled by disagreements between Democrats and Republicans.
  • Aid agencies issued a scathing report criticizing the U.N. Security Council for failing to enforce its own resolutions on Syria.
  • Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the letter by Republican senators on the nuclear deal, warning of American “deceptions.”
  • Saudi Arabia recalled its ambassador from Sweden in an escalating diplomatic feud between the countries.
  • Australia is investigating reports that an Australian teenager served as a suicide bomber in Iraq for the Islamic State.

-By David Kenner

AHMAD AL-RUBAYE/AFP/Getty Images

David Kenner is the Middle East editor at Foreign Policy. He is based in Beirut, Lebanon, and has been with FP since 2009 (a long time, he knows). He worked for FP previously in Cairo, where he covered the early days of the Arab Spring, and before that in Washington. He has attended Georgetown University and the American University of Beirut and has reported from Libya, Egypt, Gaza, Turkey, Lebanon, and Iraq. @davidkenner

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