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Iraqi forces battle IS militants inside Mosul university complex

MOSUL: Iraqi special forces battled Islamic State militants inside the Mosul University campus on Saturday in a second day of fierce clashes in the complex. “There are still clashes. We entered the university and cleared the technical institute, dentistry and antiquities departments,” Lieutenant General Abdelwahab al-Saadi of the  Counter Terrorism Service (CTS) told a Reuters…

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Oil slides 2 percent on strong dollar, doubts of OPEC output cuts

NEW YORK: Oil prices fell 2 percent on Tuesday to the lowest in nearly a month, extending the previous session’s sell-off as the U.S. dollar strengthened and doubts mounted over whether producing countries would implement of a deal to cut output.

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Baghdad suicide car bomb blast kills 17: police

BAGHDAD: A suicide car bomb attack in a densely-populated neighbourhood of Baghdad Monday killed at least 17 people and left dozens wounded, police and hospital officials said. Many of the victims were daily labourers waiting for jobs at an intersection in Sadr City, a sprawling majority Shiite neighbourhood in the northeast of the capital that…

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Frightened civilians flee as Iraq forces battle IS in Mosul

MOSUL: Frightened Iraqi civilians hurry down a muddy street in Mosul as gunshots echo through the neighbourhood and a helicopter wheels overhead, firing a barrage of bullets towards militants below. Others choose to stay, hanging white flags from their homes and periodically peering out as Iraqi forces battle the Islamic State group for control of…

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US says Islamic State chief alive, still leading

WASHINGTON: The Pentagon said Friday it believes that Islamic State chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi is indeed alive, despite repeated efforts by the US-led coalition to take out the jihadist group leader.

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Fearful Christmas in Baghdad after attacks on Christians

BAGHDAD: Christians in Baghdad celebrated Christmas on Sunday in a heightened state of fear after deadly attacks on Christian-owned shops that sell alcohol.

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Khawaja Asif slams US for Middle East conflicts

ISLAMABAD: In an undiplomatic tone on Monday, Federal Defence Minister Khawaja lashed out at the United States for wreaking havoc in the Middle East in the name of regime change. The defence minister made the remarks in a post on micro-blogging website Twitter. “In name of regime change, US has brought untold misery to Iraq,…

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Pakistan condemns terrorist attack on pilgrims in Iraq

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan on Friday strongly condemned the terrorist attack targeting buses carrying pilgrims in Iraq, resulting in heavy loss of lives and injuries. “The government and people of Pakistan extend their heartfelt condolences to the brotherly people and government of Iraq over the loss of innocent lives. Our hearts go out to the bereaved families…

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Suicide truck bomb kills about 100 in Iraq, mostly Iranian pilgrims

BAGHDAD: A suicide truck bomb killed about 100 people, most of them Iranian Shi’ite pilgrims, at a petrol station in the city of Hilla 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad on Thursday, police and medical sources said.

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Truck bomb targeting pilgrims kills 80 in Iraq

BAGHDAD: A suicide truck bomb killed more than 80 people, most of them Iranian Shi’ite pilgrims, at a petrol station in the city of Hilla 100 km (62 miles) south of Baghdad on Thursday, police and medical sources said. Islamic State (IS), the ultra hardline Sunni militant group that considers all Shi’ites to be apostates,…

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Iraqi troops expand foothold in Mosul

MOSUL, IRAQ: U.S.-backed Iraqi troops expanded their foothold on the eastern side of Islamic State’s stronghold of Mosul on Friday, as the group pledged to mount more suicide attacks on their offensive to take the city.

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Trump, Turkey’s Erdogan discuss boosting ties: sources

ANKARA: Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan called U.S. President-elect Donald Trump by phone on Wednesday and discussed improving relations and cooperating in fighting terrorism, sources in Ankara said.

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IS leader confident in victory, gives first message about Mosul battle

CAIRO/BAGHDAD: Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi expressed confidence in victory, in his first message after U.S.-backed Iraqi forces started an offensive to take back Mosul, the last major city under control of his group in Iraq. He also called on Islamic State fighters to invade Turkey. “This raging battle and total war, and the…

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Iran’s Rouhani warns of ‘terror’ spreading to North Africa

TEHRAN: Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned against the threat of “terrorist governments” being established in North Africa as violence spreads from Syria and Iraq, as he met Saturday with EU diplomatic chief Federica Mogherini. “The terrorist actions in Syria and Iraq are a serious threat to the world. If there is not a serious battle…

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Civilians pay price of IS’s ‘smoke war’ around Mosul

The smoke from fires lit by Islamic State jihadists to provide cover from air strikes has painted the northern Iraqi sky black, providing a dramatic backdrop for the Mosul offensive. The use of smoke in warfare is likely as old as war itself but the masks and technology available to Iraqi forces in this conflict…

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Russia accuses US-lead coalition of ‘war crimes’ in Iraq

The Russian defence ministry on Saturday accused the US-led coalition fighting jihadists in Iraq of committing war cries, a day after an air raid killed 15 women at a shrine near the city of Kirkuk. “We have observed several times that these deadly strikes… which have all the hallmarks of war crimes, have practically become…

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Islamic State attacks Kirkuk as Iraqi forces push on Mosul

BAGHDAD: Islamic State launched a major counter-attack on the city of Kirkuk on Friday as Iraqi and Kurdish forces pursued operations to seize territory around Mosul in preparation for an offensive on the jihadists’ last major stronghold in Iraq. Islamic State’s assault on Kirkuk, which lies in an oil- producing region, killed 18 members of…

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Mosul update: Islamic State takes 550 families to be human shields

MOSUL: Islamic State militants have taken 550 families from villages around Mosul and are holding them close to Islamic State locations in the Iraqi city, probably as human shields, a spokeswoman for the U.N. human rights office said on Friday. U.N. spokeswoman Ravina Shamdasani, citing “corroborated information” from the area, said the office was also…

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Iraqi forces moving ‘faster than expected’ on Mosul: Iraq PM

PARIS: Iraqi forces are “advancing faster than expected” in a major offensive to recapture Mosul from Islamic State jihadists, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said Thursday. “We are advancing faster than we had expected and planned,” Abadi said, speaking on a videoconference link to an international meeting co-hosted by France and Iraq on the future…

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U.S. expects Islamic State to wield chemical weapons in Mosul fight

WASHINGTON: The United States expects Islamic State to use crude chemical weapons as it tries to repel an Iraqi-led offensive on the city of Mosul, U.S. officials say, although adding that the group’s technical ability to develop such weapons is highly limited. U.S. forces have begun to regularly collect shell fragments to test for possible chemical…

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Major Mosul displacement may start in under a week: UN

A senior United Nations official on Monday quoted the Iraqi military as saying that large numbers of people may start fleeing fighting in the Mosul area in under a week. Iraq announced the launch of operations to retake Mosul, the country’s second city that has been held by the Islamic State group since June 2014,…

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