News / Middle East

    At Least 20 People Killed in Attacks Across Iraq - Police

    An Iraqi soldier stands guard as Shi'ite pilgrims walk to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the religious ceremony of Arbain, in Baghdad, Dec. 21, 2013.
    An Iraqi soldier stands guard as Shi'ite pilgrims walk to the holy city of Kerbala, ahead of the religious ceremony of Arbain, in Baghdad, Dec. 21, 2013.
    Reuters
    At least 20 people were killed in a spate of attacks across Iraq on Monday that included the seizure by gunmen of a television station, the targeting of Shi'ite Muslim pilgrims and a desert offensive by the army.
     
    Two years after the withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq, violence is at its highest levels since the sectarian bloodshed of 2006-7, when tens of thousands of people were killed.
     
    Al-Qaida-linked Sunni militants have recently stepped up attacks on Iraqi security forces, civilians and anyone seen as supporting the Shi'ite-led government of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.
     
    In the northern city of Tikrit, four gunmen wearing explosive vests seized the building of the local government channel Salahuddin after detonating a parked car bomb near the entrance, police sources said.
     
    Security forces retook the building after killing the militants in a firefight.
     
    “Two of the attackers blew themselves up when security forces raided the station and the others were killed in the clashes before they managed to detonate the explosive vests they were wearing,” a senior police officer told Reuters.
     
    The militants killed four employees of the station, including a female presenter, a program director and a news editor, the police sources said.
     
    “Iron hammer"
     
    In a desert region of the Sunni-dominated western Anbar province, the Iraqi military launched an operation against militants a day after at least 18 soldiers including a division commander were killed in the area.
     
    The operation - codenamed “Iron Hammer” - was being carried out “to avenge the martyr Mohammed al-Kurwi”, Maliki said in a statement, referring to the commander of the army's Seventh Division, who was killed in the attack.
     
    Islamist militants had targeted the commander over his role in a raid on a Sunni protest camp in April.
     
    Military officials described the operation as the largest launched by Iraqi forces since U.S. troops withdrew and said they had killed at least 20 militants and had taken control of several areas so far.
     
    It was not possible to independently verify the reports.
     
    Separately, the Iraqi capital was hit by a string of bombings and shootings.
     
    In eastern Baghdad, gunmen opened fire on a bus ferrying Shi'ite pilgrims to the city of Karbala south of the capital to mark the holy Shi'ite day of Arbaeen on Tuesday, killing two people and wounding three, police said.
     
    A further three people were killed and eight wounded when a roadside bomb went off in a commercial street in the Tobchi district of northern Baghdad.
     
    Gunmen using silenced weapons shot dead four people in a mainly Sunni district of southern Baghdad and three Iraqi soldiers were killed by a roadside bomb in the western outskirt of Abu Ghraib, police said.

    You May Like

    Candidates' Comments Fly Like New Hampshire Snowflakes

    Four days ahead of the country's first-in-the-nation Republican and Democratic party primary elections, surveys show the parties' contests tightening

    South Korea Says North Korea Moving Closer to Rocket Launch

    In phone call, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agree that Pyongyang's move would be 'provocative'

    Australian Commander: IS Changing Tactics

    Head of Australian forces in Middle East talks with VOA about training Iraqi troops, countering evolving Islamic State efforts and defeating extremism

    Featured Videos

    Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
    German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibiti
    X
    Hamada Elsaram
    February 05, 2016 4:30 PM
    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video German Artists to Memorialize Refugees With Life Jacket Exhibit

    Sold in every kind of shop in some Turkish port towns, life jackets have become a symbol of the refugee crisis that brought a million people to Europe in 2015.  On the shores of Lesbos, Greece, German artists collect discarded life jackets as they prepare an art installation they plan to display in Germany.  For VOA, Hamada Elrasam has this report from Lesbos, Greece.
    Video

    Video E-readers Help Ease Africa's Book Shortage

    Millions of people in Africa can't read, and there's a chronic shortage of books. A non-profit organization called Worldreader is trying to help change all that one e-reader at a time. VOA’s Deborah Block tells us about a girls' school in Nairobi, Kenya where Worldreader is making a difference.
    Video

    Video Genius Lets World Share Its Knowledge

    Inspired by crowdsourcing companies like Wikipedia, Genius allows anyone to edit anything on the web, using its web annotation tool
    Video

    Video Former Drug CEO Martin Shkreli Angers US Lawmakers

    A former U.S. pharmaceutical business executive has angered lawmakers by refusing to explain why he raised the price of a life-saving pill by 5,000 percent. Martin Shkreli was removed from a congressional hearing on Thursday after citing his Fifth Amendment right to stay silent. Zlatica Hoke has more.
    Video

    Video Super Bowl TV Commercials are Super Business for Advertisers

    The Super Bowl, the championship clash between the two top teams in American Football, is the most-watched sporting event of the year, and advertisers are lining up and paying big bucks to get their commercials on the air. In fact, the TV commercials during the Super Bowl have become one of the most anticipated and popular features of the event. VOA's Brian Allen has a sneak peek of what you can expect to see when the big game goes to commercial break, and the real entertainment begins.
    Video

    Video In Philippines, Mixed Feelings About Greater US Military Presence

    In the Philippines, some who will be directly affected by a recent Supreme Court decision clearing the way for more United States troop visits are having mixed reactions.  The increased rotations come at a time when the Philippines is trying to build up its military in the face of growing maritime assertiveness from China.  From Bahile, Palawan on the coast of the South China Sea, Simone Orendain has this story.
    Video

    Video Microcephaly's Connection to Zika: Guilty Until Proven Innocent

    The Zika virus rarely causes problems for the people who get it, but it seems to be having a devastating impact on babies whose mothers are infected with Zika. VOA's Carol Pearson has more.
    Video

    Video Solar Innovation Provides Cheap, Clean Energy to Kenya Residents

    In Kenya, a company called M-Kopa Solar is providing clean energy to more than 300,000 homes across East Africa by allowing customers to "pay-as-you-go" via their cell phones. As Lenny Ruvaga reports from Kangemi, customers pay a small deposit for a solar unit and then pay less than a dollar a day to get clean energy to light up their homes or businesses.
    Video

    Video Stunning Artworks Attract Record Crowds, Thanks to Social Media

    A new exhibit at the oldest art museum in America is shattering attendance records. Thousands of visitors are lining up to see nine giant works of art that have gotten a much-deserved shot of viral marketing. The 150-year-old Smithsonian American Art Museum has never had a response quite like this. VOA's Julie Taboh reports.
    Video

    Video Apprenticeships Put Americans on Path Back to Work

    Trying to get more people into the U.S. workforce, the Obama administration last year announced $175 million in grants towards apprenticeship programs. VOA White House correspondent Aru Pande went inside one training center outside of Washington that has gained national recognition for helping put people on the path to employment.
    Video

    Video New Material May Reduce Concussion Effects

    As the 2016 National Football League season reaches its summit at the Super Bowl this coming Sunday (2/7), scientists are trying to learn how to more effectively protect football players from dangerous and damaging concussions. Researchers at Cardiff and Cambridge Universities say their origami-based material may solve the problem. VOA’s George Putic reports.
    Video

    Video Saudi Arabian Women's Sports Chip Away at Stereotypes

    Saudi Arabian female athletes say that sports are on the front line of busting traditions that quash women’s voices, both locally and internationally. In their hometown of Jeddah, a group of basketball players say that by connecting sports to health issues, they are encouraging women and girls to get out of their homes and participate in public life. VOA’s Heather Murdock reports.
    Video

    Video A Year Later, Fortunes Mixed for Syrians Forging New Lives in Berlin

    In April of last year, VOA followed the progress of six young Syrian refugees -- four brothers and their two friends -- as they made their way from Libya to Italy by boat, and eventually to Germany. Reporter Henry Ridgwell caught up with the refugees again in Berlin, as they struggle to forge new lives amid the turmoil of Europe's refugee crisis.
    Video

    Video Zika Virus May be Hard to Stop

    With the Zika virus spreading rapidly, the World Health Organization Monday declared Zika a global health emergency. As Alberto Pimienta reports, for many governments and experts, the worst is yet to come.