Tuesday, 20 February 2018
News with tag Islamic State  RSS
IS kills 27 Iraq pro-government fighters: paramilitary force

Added: 20.02.2018 4:05 | 0 views | 0 comments

The Islamic State group killed 27 pro-government fighters in an ambush in Iraq, their paramilitary group said Monday, underlining the threat still posed by the jihadists despite Baghdad's declaration of victory. IS members, disguised as soldiers, attacked a Hashed al-Shaabi unit in the Hawija region about 300 kilometres (185 miles) north of Baghdad on Sunday evening, the auxiliary force said in a statement. "The attackers were dressed in military uniforms and during the fighting 27 of our heroes were martyred," added the Hashed, a key partner of the government in the battle against IS.

Five killed in attack on church in Russia's Dagestan

Added: 20.02.2018 2:07 | 0 views | 0 comments

A man in Russia's southern province of Dagestan shot into a crowd of people leaving a church on Sunday, killing five and injuring at least five others, Russian news agencies reported, citing the local health ministry. The attack occurred in the village of Kizlyar in the Muslim-majority republic of Dagestan, agencies said. The small republic in the Caucasus mountains borders Chechnya, where Moscow has led two wars against separatists and radical religious groups since the 1991 Soviet collapse and which has seen a large number of people join Islamic State. Russian news agencies said the attack occurred as churchgoers celebrated Maslenitsa, a Christian holiday marking the last day before Lent according to the eastern Orthodox calendar. The assailant was identified as a 22-year-old man local to the region, the TASS news agency said, citing the investigative committee. He was shot and killed by security services who were on duty nearby, TASS said, adding that a hunting rifle, bullets and a knife were discovered on his person. Initial reports suggested all five victims were women, TASS said, citing the local branch of the interior ministry. The injured include two members of local security services and two civilians, also women, the Interfax news agency said.  Islamic State claimed responsibility for a the shooting, according to the militant group's news agency Amaq, although it did not provide immediate evidence for the claim.

From: https:

Putin’s shock troops - how Russia's secret mercenary army came up against the US in Syria

Added: 20.02.2018 1:09 | 0 views | 0 comments

It was one of Isil’s biggest cash cows, a strategic prize crucial to the Kremlin and Bashar Assad’s plans to re-establish his rule over Syria. But the assault on Conoco oilfield near Deir Ezzor earlier this month ended in disaster, sparking the first deadly combat between Americans and Russians since the Vietnam War and embarrassing Vladimir Putin just weeks before an election.  It also cast an unwelcome light on one of the worst kept secrets of Russia’s war in Syria - its increasing reliance on unacknowledged and illegal mercenaries. “These were shock troops, and they would take any position, fulfil any task,” said Alexander Averin, a veteran of the pro-Russian militias in east Ukraine and friend of one of the Russians who was killed. Mr Averin said Kirill Ananyev, 33, was a fellow member of the radical “national Bolshevik” political party Other Russia and had also fought in eastern Ukraine.  He said that Ananyev, whom he had known since 2001, had been working for a private military company when he was killed. He would not name the company, but other casualties have been linked to the secretive Wagner group. Kirill Ananyev, a Russian private military contractor in Syria who was killed in US airstrikes on 7 February Credit: Twitter Russian media have published the names of nine Russian fighters who were killed in the assault on February 7, and the foreign ministry finally admitted on Thursday that five Russian citizens had died.  Some media reports have put the number of Russian casualties in the hundreds, however, and relatives and a former member of parliament have called for answers.  “I want everyone to know about my husband, and not just about my husband, but about all the guys who died there so stupidly,” Yelena Matveyeva, whose husband Stanislav was killed, told the regional news site Znak.com. “They sent them like pigs to the slaughter!” The debacle unfolded on the evening of 7 February, when hundreds of mysterious fighters began charging toward a Syrian Democratic Forces position near the oilfield under cover of artillery, tank and rocket fire, according to the US military. In response, US special forces embedded with the mostly Kurdish SDF called in artillery fire and strikes from fighter jets and B-52 bombers that effectively destroyed the “battalion sized force” they were facing. Mr Averin told the Telegraph that 500 Russians were in Deir Ezzor at the time, and that many of them were now dead and wounded. After Stanislav Matveyev, who was believed to work for the Wagner group, was killed, his wife spoke out against the Kremlin denials of Russian casualties Credit: Twitter It is not entirely clear whether the Russian high command authorised the attack, and some believe that Wagner mercenaries were working for local pro-Assad businessman to take the lucrative site. According to a Syrian government contract seen by Fontanka and AP, a Russian company linked to the Wagner group was to receive 25 percent of profits from oil and gas fields its contractors could capture. Others have suggested the Kremlin allowed the preventable defeat, which also saw Syrian troops killed, to happen as a warning to an increasingly independent Mr Assad as well as Iran, his other major backer.  “You need to be in line with our policies in Syria or you'll get bombed,” was Moscow's message to them, said Yury Barmin of the Russian International Affairs Council, a think-tank close to the Kremlin.  A US drone destroys a pro-regime tank near Deir Ezzor days after the airstrikes that killed numerous Russians Credit: CNN Ostensibly designed to support a long-time ally and defeat the Islamic State, Mr Putin's bombing campaign in Syria was supposed to be a television war, providing footage of impressive Russian airstrikes without any body bags to ruin the mood.  To assuage fears of a repeat of the disastrous Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, Mr Putin said it would be solely an air operation lasting no longer than Mr Assad's counter-offensive But Syrian forces reportedly proved ineffective even with the help of Russian advisors and special forces. Kremlin-linked contractors allowed Moscow to run a covert land operation while denying it had boots on the ground. “The big battles, the intense battles with casualties, that's all Russian mercenaries,” said Ruslan Leviev of the Conflict Intelligence Team, a research group who track Russian military activity abroad.  A Russian Tupolev Tu-22M3 bombs targets in the Deir Ezzor region in November Credit: TASS via Getty Images Some 3,000 Russians have fought for the Wagner group, the biggest of the private military companies, in Syria since 2015, according to documents seen by the independent news outlet Fontanka.  It said 73 of them had died before 7 February, exceeding the 46 official Russian military casualties. The US airstrikes against the Russian contractors have raised an alarming risk of direct great-power confrontation in Syria as external players vie to consolidate their interests following the defeat of Islamic State.  Within the last two weeks, al-Qaeda-affiliated rebels shot down a Russian jet, Kurdish fighters have downed a Turkish helicopter, Israel downed an Iranian drone and the Syrian army shot down an Israeli F-16. “Now that the fighting with ISIS is more or less over, every global player in the war is attempting to draw its own sphere of influence in Syria,” Sami Nadir, of the Levant Institute for Strategic Affairs, told the Telegraph. “They used to fight each other through their proxies, now they’re just going head-to-head.” Benjamin Netanyahu holds up what he said was a piece of an Iranian drone shot down in Israeli airspace at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday Credit: AFP PHOTO / MSC Munich Security Conference / LENNART PREISS America wants to limit Iran and keep the Kurds - its greatest ally against Isil - on side, while not agitating its Nato ally Turkey. Russia has been trying to keep a balance between its allies Turkey, Israel and Iran, to little avail. “The new phase in the Syrian conflict makes the anti-ISIS war look like a stroll in the park,” said Bilal Saab, an expert at the Washington-based Middle East Institute. “This has the potential to turn into a regional war.” Yet news of the contractors' deaths has remained largely unknown in Russia under a state television blackout: The website of the main state news programme published a report, only to delete it the same day. A Syrian pro-regime fighter wounded in the 7 February battle in Deir Ezzor Credit: AFP Photo/Getty Images “It's like the story with the Pskov paratroopers who died in Ukraine,” said Lev Gudkov, head of the independent Levada survey centre. “The information was blocked for a long time, then denied, and it spread only in close-knit circles, it didn't become a fact of public opinion, and I fear it will be the same picture here.” Nonetheless, Mr Putin, whose withdrawal announcement was welcomed by most Russians, finds himself in a bind: The Syria peace talks he sponsored in Sochi last month devolved into infighting and the conflict is edging toward what Mr Nadir called a “full-blown international crisis”. “The era of cooperation is over,” he said. “It’s a Cold War scenario.” The Wagner group | Russia's secret mercenaries in Syria

IS ambushes Iraqi Shiite-led force, killing 27 fighters

Added: 20.02.2018 1:09 | 0 views | 0 comments

BAGHDAD (AP) — Islamic State militants ambushed a group of Iraq's Shiite-led paramilitary fighters, killing at least 27 more than two months after Baghdad declared victory over the extremist group, officials said Monday

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Islamic State kills 27 Iraqi militiamen near Kirkuk

Added: 20.02.2018 0:08 | 0 views | 0 comments

Islamic State militants ambushed a convoy of pro-government militia fighters near the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk late on Sunday, killing at least 27 of them, the government-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces said on Monday. Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack. A security official said Iraqi forces were pursuing the militants, who had disguised themselves in police uniforms to carry out the ambush.

From: https:

Islamic State kills 27 Iraqi militiamen

Added: 19.02.2018 19:38 | 0 views | 0 comments

Islamic State militants have ambushed a convoy of pro-government militia fighters near the northern Iraqi oil city of Kirkuk, killing at least 27 of them, the government-backed Popular Mobilisation Forces says.

From: www.news.com.au

IS ambushes Iraqi Shiite-led force, killing 27 fighters

Added: 19.02.2018 11:16 | 1 views | 0 comments

BAGHDAD (AP) - Islamic State militants have ambushed a group of Iraq's Shiite-led paramilitary fighters, killing at least 27. The...

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IS claims responsibility for church shooting in Russia

Added: 19.02.2018 11:03 | 0 views | 0 comments

The Islamic State group has claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on churchgoers in Russia's predominantly Muslim Dagestan region

From: abcnews.go.com

IS claims responsibility for church shooting in Russia

Added: 19.02.2018 10:27 | 1 views | 0 comments

MOSCOW (AP) - The Islamic State group on Monday claimed responsibility for a deadly attack on churchgoers in Russia's predominantly Muslim Dagestan region. At least five people were killed and four wounded when a gunman opened fire with a...

From: https:

Netanyahu brandishes remnants of Iranian drone shot down in Israel as he warns against 'dangerous Iran tiger'

Added: 19.02.2018 9:07 | 0 views | 0 comments

Benjamin Netanyahu opened a war of words with the Iranian foreign minister as he used a speech to brandish a piece of Iranian drone destroyed in Israeli airspace and warn that Iran was "greatest threat to our world". Holding what appeared to be a panel of the Iranian drone shot down last week amid rising tensions between the two powers, the Israeli leader asked Javad Zarif, the Iranian foreign minister: "Do you recognize it? You should, it’s yours. Don’t test us." Speaking at a Munich security conference on Sunday, Mr Netanyahu appeared to threaten Iran with further retaliation, adding: "We will act if necessary not just against Iran's proxies, but against Iran itself." Mr Zarif, also speaking at the conference, later dismissed Mr Netanyahu's presentation as "a cartoonish circus, which does not even deserve a response". He accused the Israeli prime minister of attempting to revive anti-Iranian "hysteria". Sunday's gesture comes scarcely a week after military escalation in Syria raised questions about Israel’s mantle of military supremacy in the Middle East. Protesters hold up a heart-shaped sign at a demonstration during the Munich Security Conference in Munich Credit: MICHAELA REHLE/ REUTERS Last Saturday Israel claimed an Iranian drone breached its airspace. An Israeli Apache attack helicopter destroyed it, and in a retaliatory move, Israeli fighter jets were scrambled to Syria, where they attacked a series of high-value targets. It was the largest battery of Israeli strikes on Syria since 1982, during Lebanon’s civil war. It also carried a heavy price: one of the Israeli jets was hit by Syrian fire, downing the plane. The two pilots ejected over Israel and one is seriously injured. For Mr Netanyahu, who is fighting corruption charges at home and may welcome the opportunity to flex some foreign policy muscle, the Munich symposium provided an opportunity to sound the alarm on rising Iranian power and gather support to defeat it. In Syria, the Iran-backed Lebanese militia Hezbollah has played a pivotal role in supporting the regime of Syrian president Bashar al-Assad, all but ensuring his victory. Profile | Benjamin Netanyahu And in both Syria and Iraq, Iranian troops and Iran-backed militias have played a critical role in battling the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (Isil). Mr Netanyahu warned that Tehran sought to exploit the gap left by Isil for its own advance. He said Iran was “trying to establish this continuous empire surrounding the Middle East from the south in Yemen but also trying to create a land bridge from Iran to Iraq, Syria, Lebanon and Gaza". "This is a very dangerous development for our region,” said Mr Netanyahu. But Iran’s leadership scoffed at his claims. Mr Zarif, who also addressed the conference, called Mr Netanyahu's presentation "a cartoonish circus". Iran nuclear talks Mr Zarif denied that Tehran was seeking "hegemony" in the Middle East. He also accused Israel’s top ally the US of using the conference to "revive hysteria" against Iran. US President Donald Trump has frequently called the nuclear deal a bad one. That view is shared by Mr Netanyahu, who said the 2015 Iran nuclear deal must be scrapped or rewritten in order to prevent Iran from acquiring nuclear weapon capabilities. But signatories France, Britain, Germany, Russia and China say the deal cannot be revisited and Iran is holding up its end by allowing inspections. Former US secretary of state John Kerry also weighed in, saying it was wrong to assume Iran would obtain a nuclear weapon as soon as the 15-year scope of the deal ends. "If your house is on fire, are you going to refuse to put it out because you are concerned it will light on fire again in 15 years? Or are you going to put it out and use the intervening time to prevent it ever catching fire again?" Kerry said. In his 2012 United Nations General Assembly address, Mr Netanyahu held aloft a cartoonish drawing of a bomb to illustrate his concerns about Iran’s progress towards making a nuclear weapon.

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