News / Middle East

Iraq Launches Military Offensive in Tikrit

Members of Iraqi security forces take their positions during a patrol looking for militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) west of Kerbala, June 29, 2014.
Members of Iraqi security forces take their positions during a patrol looking for militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) west of Kerbala, June 29, 2014.
VOA News

The Iraqi army has launched what it calls a major offensive to retake the northern city of Tikrit from Sunni ISIL extremists.

Military officials say the main ground operation started Saturday with heavy fighting in the city between Sunni militants and Iraqi special forces attempting to regain control of a university campus. Iraqi helicopter gunships fired on the area to repel the militants as Iraqi tanks rumbled from the south to attack.

Casualties are unclear at this time.

Meanwhile, Iraq says it has received several secondhand Russian fighter jets to use in the fight against the militants.

The operation comes shortly after U.S. officials said its military is flying armed drones in Iraqi airspace to protect U.S. military advisers sent to help counter insurgents.

U.S. President Barack Obama sent 300 military personnel to Iraq earlier this month to strengthen government security forces and help establish joint operation centers to combat ISIL.

Human Rights Watch said Friday analysis of photographs and satellite imagery "strongly indicates" that ISIL extremists conducted mass executions in Tikrit after seizing control of the city.

The rights group says the extremists killed between 160 and 190 men in at least two locations between June 11 and 14.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry was in the Middle East to encourage regional leaders to tackle the Islamist militant threat posed by the conflicts in Syria and Iraq.  The White House has announced it wants to send $500 million to train Syrian rebels fighting ISIL and the Syrian president's forces.

Kerry met Thursday in Paris with the foreign ministers of Saudi Arabia, Jordan and the United Arab Emirates, in an effort to rally regional unity against ISIL.

On Friday he held talks with Saudi King Abdullah.   Reuters reports that Abdullah pledged to use Saudi influence to encourage Iraqi Sunni Muslims to join any new inclusive government that might replace the administration of current Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki, who has been criticized for stoking sectarian tensions in Iraq.

The prime minister has rejected forming any new emergency government saying that would go against the country’s constitution and the results of the April 30 parliamentary election. 

Some material in this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Video British Fighters on Frontline of Islamic State Information War

It’s estimated that several hundred British citizens are fighting for Islamic State alongside other foreign jihadists More

Pakistan's Political Turmoil Again Shines Spotlight on Military

Thousands of protesters calling for PM Sharif to step down continue protests in front of parliament, as critics fear political impasse could spur another military coup More

Photogallery Ebola Quarantines Spark Anxiety in Liberian Capital

Food prices rise sharply as residents attempting purchases clash with security forces, leaving one person dead More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: meanbill from: USA
June 29, 2014 11:41 AM
THE WISE MAN said it; -- "In the midst of ever changing military battles, unplanned adjustments must be made, including adjusting strategy, changing your troop positions, troop rotations, and replacing some officers.... and those who make the proper instant battle adjustments, will win the battles"... "The Art of War" by Sun Tzu

MY OPINION? -- Soon, like a Mongol horde, the Maliki Iraqi troops will overwhelm the Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi army, (and do like the Mongols did), they'll leave the bones of Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi army, bleaching in the sands of Iraq forever.... (but Maliki must beware of the advice given by the US and NATO countries, who arm his enemies)....


by: RanaSahib from: Ontario
June 28, 2014 10:08 PM
Not going to happen. Gotterdammerung for the nation state concept as applied to Iraq. ISIS can't be stopped.


by: Fatma from: Iraq
June 28, 2014 9:41 PM
I think that what Iraq mostly needed is peace. We don't need new militia build as army and collecting people in a call of religion against anothers in the same country. .
This is not government..
Iraq needs strong civilian professional government believe in all iraqis equal.
And when this happens everything else will be so easy to solve and we'll get back every area automatically


by: meanbill from: USA
June 28, 2014 7:57 PM
MY OPINION? -- I guarantee that the Maliki counterattack against the Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi, will be successful, as long as they don't continue to give any quarter, (or take the advice of the US and NATO countries), who'll want the Shia Muslim attacking forces to give quarter, (a ceasefire), to the soon to be defeated Sunni Muslim (ISIL) army....

PICTURE THIS? -- The Sunni Muslim (ISIL) "Emir of the Believers" al-Baghdadi army, (hasn't enough fighters to hold or guard surrendering Iraqi troops, or other submitting Infidels), and all of them, and the Shia Muslims, are given the extreme punishment from the al-Baghdadi appointed Judges (Qadis), who are ordered to execute all the Shia Muslims, who al-Baghdadi calls "The Filthy Ones" .... that he believes, should be wipe off the earth.....

The (Qadis) Judges, are legal under Sunni Muslim law, and their qualifications are, they must be free, sane, adult, trustworthy, and a Muslim, and the decisions of the (Qadi) Judge is final, and irrevocable.... Non-Muslims and non-believers, call the executions terrorist acts, war crimes, and crimes against humanity, but in reality, they are legal under Sunni Muslim Islamic law.....

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Native Bees May Help Save Cropsi
X
Deborah Block
August 22, 2014 12:23 AM
U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video Native Bees May Help Save Crops

U.S. President Barack Obama has called for a federal strategy to promote the health of bees that have been declining. The honeybee has been waning due to parasites, disease and pesticides. Wild bees may be used to take over their role as crop pollinators. Scientists first need to learn a lot more about wild bees, says biologist Sam Droege, who is pioneering the first national inventory on native bees. VOA’s Deborah Block went to his research laboratory in Beltsville, Maryland, to bring you more.
Video

Video US Defense Officials Plan for Long-Term Strategy to Contain Islamic State

U.S. defense officials say American air strikes in Iraq have helped deter Islamic State militants for the time being, but that a broad international effort is needed to defeat the extremists permanently. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned Thursday that the group formerly known as the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, is better organized, and financially and militarily stronger than any other known terrorist group. Zlatica Hoke has more.
Video

Video Drug-Resistant Malaria Spreads in Southeast Asia

On Thailand’s border with Myanmar, also known as Burma, a malaria research and treatment clinic is stepping up efforts to eliminate a drug-resistant form of the parasite - before it spreads abroad. Steve Sandford reports from Mae Sot, Thailand.
Video

Video Gaza Conflict, Hamas Popularity Challenge Abbas

The Palestinian unity government of Mahmoud Abbas has failed to convince Hamas to agree to Egyptian-negotiated terms with Israel on a Gaza cease-fire. VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports on what the Gaza conflict means for President Abbas, with whom U.S. officials have worked for years on a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
Video

Video Nigeria's 'Nollywood' Movie Industry Rolls in High Gear

Twenty years after its birth in a video shop in Lagos, Nigeria's "Nollywood" is one of the most prolific film industries on earth. Despite low budgets and whirlwind production schedules, Nigerian films are wildly popular in Africa and industry professionals say they hope, in the future, their films will be as great in quality as they are in quantity. Heather Murdock has more for VOA from Lagos.
Video

Video UN Launches 'Biggest Aid Operation in 30 Years' in Iraq

The United Nations has launched what it describes as one of the biggest aid operations in 30 years in northern Iraq, as hundreds of thousands of refugees flee the extremist Sunni militant group calling itself the Islamic State. As Kurdish and Iraqi forces battle the Sunni insurgents, the fighting has forced more people to flee their homes. Kurdish authorities say the international community must act now to avert a humanitarian catastrophe. Henry Ridgwell reports for VOA from London.
Video

Video Cambodian American Hip Hop Artist Sings of Personal Struggles

A growing underground movement of Cambodian American hip hop artists is rapping about the struggles of living in urban America. Most, if not all of them, are refugees or children of refugees who came to the United States from Cambodia to escape the Khmer Rouge genocide of the 1970s. Through their music, the artists hope to give voice to immigrants who have been struggling quietly for years. Elizabeth Lee reports from Long Beach, California.
Video

Video African Media Tries to Educate Public About Ebola

While the Ebola epidemic continues to claim lives in West Africa, information technology specialists, together with radio and TV reporters, are battling misinformation and prejudice about the disease - using social media to educate the public about the deadly virus. VOA’s George Putic has more.

AppleAndroid