Islamic State Militants Attack Region’s Largest Oil Refinery
Islamic State militants launched an attack the Baiji oil refinery and the surrounding districts early Friday morning. Baiji Mayor, Mahmoud al-Jabouri, said the attack by the Islamic State consisted of over 200 fighters and twelve car bombs. Control of the neighborhoods surrounding Baiji has changed hands many times over the past several months, but the ...
Islamic State militants launched an attack the Baiji oil refinery and the surrounding districts early Friday morning. Baiji Mayor, Mahmoud al-Jabouri, said the attack by the Islamic State consisted of over 200 fighters and twelve car bombs. Control of the neighborhoods surrounding Baiji has changed hands many times over the past several months, but the Iraqi Army claims that the refinery site in Baiji still remains under the Army’s control.
A major general from the Salaheddin province, in which Baiji is located, described the violence as “the fiercest since we broke the siege a few months ago. Three suicide attackers were able to reach the entrances of the refinery. Two were killed but one managed to blow himself up.” According to the army officer, the Iraqi Air Force killed 20 of the Islamic State militants that participated in the attack on Friday morning.
Iraqi Airstrikes Hit Islamic State-held Hospital
A women and children’s hospital was destroyed by Iraqi airstrikes in Islamic State-held territory in the Anbar province. At least 22 women and children were killed during the operation. The Anbar provincial council says that the Iraqi Air Force was targeting Islamic State fighters in the village of Nassaf, two kilometers south of the hospital, when the airstrike missed its target. Ahya Rasool, spokesman for the Iraqi Defense Ministry, rejected the claims of the airstrike stating that Iraqi forces do not target schools or hospitals, even if they are occupied by militants.
-Thirty seven residents have been killed in the city of Sirte in central Libya as clashes between Islamic State militants and an Islamist group.
–Turkey’s nationalist opposition political party announced on Friday that it would not back a minority government, making a snap election with the ruling party in control look unlikely.
-The ceasefire, which began on Wednesday, between the warring sides in the Syrian city of Zabadani and two neighboring villages, has been extended to Sunday.
-Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has appointed Danny Danon, a hawkish member of the Israeli parliament, to the sensitive post of Israeli ambassador to the United Nations.
-Backers of the Iran Nuclear Deal plan a “global day of peace,” a global peaceful protest in which thousands of people around the world are expected to march in their cities in support of Iran’s deal.
Arguments and Analysis
“He’s Back: Al-Qaida’s Leader Resurfaces in a Video Message” (Bruce Riedel, Markaz, Brookings)
“After an unprecedented 11 months of silence, Ayman al-Zawahri, the emir of al-Qaida, this week issued a video message proclaiming his loyalty to the new head of the Afghan Taliban, Mullah Akhtar Mansoor. The almost 10-minute long message dramatically reaffirms the alliance between al-Qaida and the Taliban, a setback for efforts to bring the Taliban into a political process.”
“Badr at the Forefront of Iraq’s Shia Militias” (Kird H. Sowell, Sada Journal, Carnegie Endowment for International Peace)
”Badr—founded in the 1980s in Iran, its continued supporter—is not only the most important of the various armed groups composing the Popular Mobilization Forces (Hashd). It also symbolizes how Iraqis’ hopes for a democratic country governed by the rule of law have given way to a political system that is expressly sectarian and increasingly resembles a garrison state. No other militia-political party was better prepared to capitalize on the collapse of Iraqi security forces in northern Iraq last June.”
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