News / Middle East

Relatives of Abducted Iraqi Soldiers Storm Parliament

FILE - This image posted on a militant website on June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State leading away captured soldiers.
FILE - This image posted on a militant website on June 14, 2014, which has been verified and is consistent with other AP reporting, appears to show militants from the al-Qaida-inspired Islamic State leading away captured soldiers.
VOA News

More than 100 angry relatives of Iraqi soldiers who were abducted by Islamic State militants in June have stormed the country's parliament.

The crowd, mostly from Iraq's Shi'ite majority, smashed some equipment, assaulted at least two staff members they mistook for lawmakers and were refusing to leave the building, said officials inside.

"They were ready to bulldoze anyone standing in front of them ... They were saying 'Our sons are buried in the dust. We don't even know their names, and you are sitting here in comfort under the air conditioning','' a parliament employee said.

"A special force unit came with batons to remove them from the parliament ... I can hear screaming, shouting and name calling,'' the employee added.

Islamic State fighters captured the soldiers in June at the start of its lightning advance through northern and central Iraq, where it declared an Islamic caliphate and threatened to march on Baghdad.

The soldiers walked out of their base in Tikrit, north of the capital, believing a truce had been brokered. Instead, Islamic State fighters took them and later reported having killed 1,700 soldiers, posting pictures of corpses online.

There have been no independent reports on how many died.

Locals in Tikrit said in June they believed the number was in the hundreds.

The relatives had been scheduled to address parliament about the fate of their loved ones. But they started to violently protest outside the building and then forced their way inside past several checkpoints, according to parliament employees.

"They broke into parliament. They roughed up some guards and officials. They broke the equipment (inside the assembly hall),'' said another witness.

Parliament Speaker Selim al Jabouri indicated he would convene a special session of parliament Wednesday to discuss the issue.

Some lawmakers fled, leaving briefcases and jackets behind, said one civil servant.

  • Iraqi Shiite militia fighters celebrate the defeat of Islamic State militants in Amerli, Iraq, Sept. 2, 2014.
  • An Iraqi Shiite militia fighter flashes the victory sign, near the wreckage of a tank belonging to Islamic State militants, after breaking a long siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants, Sept. 2, 2014.
  • Triumphant Iraqi Shiite militia fighters celebrate breaking a long siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants, Sept. 2, 2014.
  • Police inspect the site of an attack that killed at least 18 people and wounded about 50 people when two parked car bombs went off in two mainly Shi'ite districts, in Baghdad's Al-Amil district, Sept. 2, 2014.
  • Iraqi Shiite militia fighters hold the Islamic State flag as they celebrate after breaking the siege of Amerli by Islamic State militants, Sept. 1, 2014.


Fighting continues

Fighting continued Tuesday as Iraqi helicopters fired on Islamic State militants fleeing a region south of Kirkuk.  Government troops, backed by Kurdish fighters and Shi'ite militiamen, recaptured the town of Suleiman Beg on Monday. The militants had controlled it since June. 

U.S. warplanes were reported in action near Tel Kaif, helping the advance of Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Iraqi government forces.

Iraqi military spokesman General Qassem Mohammed Atta says Iraqi Army and Kurdish Peshmerga fighters had forced Islamic State militants to withdraw from a series of towns in the Suleiman Bek region, allowing the reopening of the strategic highway from Kirkuk to Baghdad.

University of Paris Middle East expert Khattar Abou Diab told VOA the battle to dislodge Islamic State militants is extremely complicated and victory is not assured, given the wily tactics used by the group.

From a military standpoint, he said, the Islamic State may be trying to trap Iraqi and Peshmerga forces into areas from which they will not be able to withdraw if there is a counter-attack.  He said the militants are very versatile with their fleet of pickup trucks, pulling back when they are cornered, only to return later.

Abou Diab contends the war against Islamic State fighters “will be difficult to win without a real political solution that would cut it off from a population sympathetic to the group.”

Charges of ethnic cleansing

Meanwhile, rights group Amnesty International says Islamic State militants in northern Iraq have carried out "ethnic cleansing on a historic scale" in a bid to wipe out non-Arabs and non-Sunni Muslims.

A new report Tuesday says the systematic campaign includes mass killings and abductions that have terrorized all of northern Iraq and is fueling sectarian tensions in the region.

Speaking from the Kurdish-controlled Iraqi city of Irbil, Amnesty’s senior crisis response adviser, Donatella Rovera, told VOA the sweeping advance by Islamic State militants has changed the demographic map of northern Iraq in a horrifying way.

“The Islamic State has been carrying out a very brutal campaign and has managed in the space of barely a few weeks to remove, ethnically cleanse, the entire minority population, the ethnic and religious minorities, from the areas in northern Iraq that are now under the control of the Islamic State,” said Rovera.

Amnesty is calling for protection and humanitarian support for Iraq's minorities who have been displaced by months of fighting.

The report comes a day after the United Nations issued a similar warning about minority persecution at the hands of the Islamic State group. The U.N. Human Rights Council also decided to send a mission to Iraq to investigate abuses.

Al Pessin contributed to this report from London. Edward Yeranian - from Cairo.

You May Like

Kurdish President: More Needed to Defeat Islamic State

In interview with VOA's Persian Service, Massoud Barzani says peshmerga forces have not received weapons, logistical support needed to successfully fight IS in northern Iraq More

Sierra Leone's Stray Dog Population Doubles During Ebola Crisis

Many dog owners fear their pets could infect them with the virus and have abandoned them, leading to the increase and sparking fears of rabies More

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

New methods for mapping pain in the brain not only validate sufferers of chronic pain but might someday also lead to better treatment More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: eusebio manuel vestias from: Portugal
September 02, 2014 5:58 PM
International community Stop the War in Iraq

by: meanbill from: USA
September 02, 2014 8:42 AM
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi follows the strict interpretations of he Prophet Muhammad when he spread his Muslim religion by the sword, and he didn't have a prison camp or place to hold captive enemy troops or non-believers, (and their fate was sealed), they either converted to Islam or were killed (by whatever the Qadi decided), or ENSLAVED..
.
A Qadi is an Islamic judge appointed by an Imam, to mete out swift Islamic justice in captured cities, towns, and on the battlefield, (qualifications), that they be free, sane, adult, trustworthy, and a Muslim.. The decision by the Sunni or Shia Muslim Imam or Qadi, is final and irrevocable..
.
According to Islamic Law, (concerning prisoners of war).. The decision is left to the Imam or Qadi.. He has the choice either to kill the men (by whatever means), or exchange them for Muslim captives, or ENSLAVE them.. Women and children are not permitted be killed, but must be exchanged for Muslim captives, or ENSLAVED..

I do believe, that since the Sunni Muslim (ISIL) army is using a Qadi to decide the swift fate of captive Shia Muslim troops and civilians, (it is more than likely), the Shia Muslim Qadi will decide the same type fate swiftly for Sunni Muslim captured troops and civilians?..... (don't you think?)

by: Lawrence Bush from: Houston, USA
September 02, 2014 8:05 AM
The IS does a great job to cleansing the non-Arabs and non-Sunnis in the northern Iraq. The caliphate and the calipha should stand as per this principle. Baghdadi should be well aware of while the world does move and enter into his caliphate to destroy this "hideous state", he and his inhuman perpetrators would not find even the caves to hide themselves like rats. Certainly, such preparations are currently in underway.

by: Mr A from: New York
September 02, 2014 5:02 AM
This is very impressive about amnesty international !!!!. Amnesty international is taking about ethnic cleanses. It has already done for more than a year. There are million killed by ISIS and just now amnesty raises concern . Find other job amnesty international . it is organization marked by double standard.

by: Anonymous
September 02, 2014 4:36 AM
All is member have committed genocide and crime against humanity.If it is proven that one is a menber of is,he should spend the whole of his life in prison.they cover their faces and commits crime never seen before.if tough laws are not make, they will destroy the west.God bless America
In Response

by: Sidney Jolly
September 02, 2014 10:45 AM
Islamic States is sowing the seeds of it's own destruction. How many non-Sunni soldiers are going to surrender to it, knowing that they will be murdered? And, many non-Sunni young men will take up arms against IS, to defend themselves and their families.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Paini
X
Shelley Schlender
April 20, 2015 7:03 PM
Pain has a purpose - it can stop you from touching a flame or from walking on a broken leg. As an injury heals, the pain goes away. Usually. But worldwide, one out of every five people suffers from pain that lasts for months and years, leading to lost jobs, depression, and rising despair when medical interventions fail or health experts hint that a pain sufferer is making it up. From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video New Brain Mapping Techniques Could Ease Chronic Pain

From Boulder, Colorado, Shelley Schlender reports that new methods for mapping pain in the brain are providing validation for chronic pain and might someday guide better treatment.
Video

Video Hope, Prayer Enter Fight Against S. Africa Xenophobia

South Africa has been swept by disturbing attacks on foreign nationals. Some blame the attacks on a legacy of colonialism, while others say the economy is to blame. Whatever the cause, ordinary South Africans - and South African residents from around the world - say they're praying for the siege of violence to end. Anita Powell reports from Johannesburg.
Video

Video Italy Rescues Migrants After Separate Deadly Capsize Incident

Italy continued its massive search and rescue operation in the Mediterranean Monday for the capsized boat off the coast of Libya that was carrying hundreds of migrants, while at the same time rescuing Syrian migrants from another vessel off the coast of Sicily. Thirteen children were among the 98 Syrian migrants whose boat originated from Turkey on the perilous journey to Europe.
Video

Video New Test Set to Be Game Changer in Eradicating Malaria

The World Health Organization estimates 3.4 billion people are at risk of malaria, with children under the age of five and pregnant women being the most vulnerable. As World Malaria Day approaches (April 25), mortality rates are falling, and a new test -- well into the last stage of trials -- is having positive results in Kenya. Lenny Ruvaga reports for VOA from Nairobi.
Video

Video Are Energy Needs Putting Thailand's Natural Beauty at Risk?

Thailand's appetite for more electricity has led to the construction of new dams along the Mekong River to the north and new coal plants near the country's famous beaches in the south. A proposed coal plant in a so-called "green zone" has touched off a debate. VOA's Steve Sandford reports.
Video

Video Overwhelmed by Migrants, Italy Mulls Military Action to Stabilize Libya

Thousands more migrants have arrived on the southern shores of Italy from North Africa in the past two days. Authorities say they expect the total number of arrivals this year to far exceed previous levels, and the government has said military action in Libya might be necessary to stem the flow. VOA's Henry Ridgwell reports.
Video

Video Putin Accuses Kyiv of ‘Cutting Off’ Eastern Ukraine

Russian President Vladimir Putin, in his annual televised call-in program, again denied there were any Russian troops fighting in Ukraine. He also said the West was trying to ‘contain’ Russia with sanctions. Henry Ridgwell reports on reactions to the president’s four-hour TV appearance.
Video

Video Eye Contact Secures Dog's Place in Human Heart

Dogs serve in the military, work with police and assist the disabled, and have been by our side for thousands of years serving as companions and loyal friends. We love them. They love us in return. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble reports on a new study that looks at the bio-chemical bond that cements that human-canine connection.
Video

Video Ukrainian Volunteers Search for Bodies of Missing Soldiers

As the cease-fire becomes more fragile in eastern Ukraine, a team of volunteer body collectors travels to the small village of Savur Mohyla in the what pro-Russian separatists call the Donetsk Peoples Republic - to retrieve bodies of fallen Ukrainian servicemen from rebel-held territories. Adam Bailes traveled with the team and has this report.
Video

Video Xenophobic Violence Sweeps South Africa

South Africa, long a haven for African immigrants, has been experiencing the worst xenophobic violence in years, with at least five people killed and hundreds displaced in recent weeks. From Johannesburg, VOA’s Anita Powell brings us this report.
Video

Video Apollo 13, NASA's 'Successful Failure,' Remembered

The Apollo 13 mission in 1970 was supposed to be NASA's third manned trip to the moon, but it became much more. On the flight's 45th anniversary, astronauts and flight directors gathered at Chicago's Adler Planetarium to talk about how the aborted mission changed manned spaceflight and continues to influence space exploration today. VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports.
Video

Video Badly Burned Ukrainian Boy Bravely Fights Back

A 9-year-old Ukrainian boy has returned to his native country after intensive treatment in the United States for life-threatening burns. Volodia Bubela, burned in a house fire almost a year ago, battled back at a Boston hospital, impressing doctors with his bravery. Faith Lapidus narrates this report from VOA's Tetiana Kharchenko.
Video

Video US Maternity Leave Benefits Much Less Than Many Countries

It was almost 20 years ago that representatives of 189 countries met at a UN conference in Beijing and adopted a plan of action to achieve gender equality around the world. Now, two decades later, the University of California Los Angeles World Policy Analysis Center has issued a report examining what the Beijing Platform for Action has achieved. From Los Angeles, Elizabeth Lee has more.
Video

Video Endangered Hawaiian Birds Get Second Chance

Of the world's nearly 9,900 bird species, 13 percent are threatened with extinction, according to BirdLife International. Among them are two Hawaiian honeycreepers - tiny birds that live in the forest canopy, and, as the name implies, survive on nectar from tropical flowers. Scientists at the San Diego Zoo report they have managed to hatch half a dozen of their chicks in captivity, raising hopes that the birds will flutter back from the brink of extinction. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Exhibit Brings Renaissance Master Out of the Shadows

The National Gallery of Art in Washington has raised the curtain on one of the most intriguing painters of the High Renaissance. Mostly ignored after his death in the early 1500s, Italian master Piero di Cosimo is now claiming his place alongside the best-known artists of the period. VOA’s Ardita Dunellari reports.

VOA Blogs