Radical Sunni militants of Al-Qaeda offshoot, the Islamic State are advancing and capturing cities in the north of Iraq. The jihadists have declared the capture of the capital Baghdad as their top priority objective.
Iraqi security forces have retaken the strategic town of Jurf al-Sakhar near Baghdad from Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) militants. The victory, the first for months for the Iraqi authorities, could prevent the Sunni insurgents from maintaining a link with their strong holds in Anbar province to the west of Baghdad and from infiltrating the mainly Shiite south of Iraq.
Germany is facing an “increased abstract threat” stemming from hundreds of people who joined extremists in Syria and Iraq and may eventually return to hit Germany, domestic intelligence warns, as Berlin approves arming Kurdish forces deterring IS in Iraq.
“We have to assume ... that there may well be people who return and commit attacks,” the head of the Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution, Hans-Georg Maassen, told Deutschlandfunk radio, adding that there was an “increased abstract threat” of attacks in Germany.
Berlin also approved 70 million euros in funds for arming Kurdish forces in Iraq who are struggling to contain Islamic State advances.
By the end of September Germany will send them 30 portable "Milan" anti-tank missile complexes and 200 Panzerfaust 3 bazookas, 8,000 G3 and G36 assault rifles with ammunition, as well as five heavily armored Dingo infantry vehicles. The equipment will also include hand grenades, mine-clearing, night-vision goggles, field kitchens and tents.
The US military has launched two more airstrikes against Islamic State targets in Iraq on Sunday, the US Central Command reports. A strike near the Mosul Dam destroyed an IS armed vehicle while another near Amirli damaged a tank, the statement reads. Since US forces were authorized to support the Iraqi government against IS and to protect US personnel and facilities, a total of 120 airstrikes have been carried out across Iraq.
The US has carried out fresh air strikes against the Islamic State in Iraq near the Mosul dam, the Pentagon announced.
"The strikes destroyed an ISIL armed vehicle, an ISIL fighting position, ISIL weapons, and significantly damaged an ISIL building," a US Defense Department statement said, referring to the Islamic State. “All aircraft exited the strike areas safely."
Meanwhile the US Central Command said strikes were carried out “to protect critical infrastructure, US personnel and facilities, and support humanitarian efforts,” as well as to support Kurdish and Iraqi troops.
A total of 115 air strikes across Iraq have been conducted by the US since the operation began earlier this month.
The UN Security Council has denounced the beheading of American journalist James Foley at the hands of Islamic State militants, Reuters reports. "The Security Council strongly condemned the heinous and cowardly murder of James Foley," the council said in a statement on Friday, adding that the group “must be defeated and that the intolerance, violence and hatred it espouses must be stamped out.” Militants have threatened to kill another US reporter if President Barack Obama does not halt military action in Iraq.
A man sentenced to die for adultery by Sharia law was stoned to death by Islamic State militants in Iraq’s city of Mosul, reported Reuters. So far death through stoning has not been registered in Iraq, although there had been a report that a similar execution had been carried out earlier by Islamist militants in Syria.
President Obama has authorized US airstrikes in Iraq against Islamic State positions to drive the militants back from the Mosul Dam, stressing the need to save civilians and the US embassy in Baghdad.
"The failure of the Mosul Dam could threaten the lives of large numbers of civilians, threaten US personnel and facilities - including the US Embassy in Baghdad - and prevent the Iraqi government from providing critical services to the Iraqi populace," the White House said in a statement.
With US air power, the Kurdish forces were able to recapture part of Iraq’s largest dam from the militants who captured it almost two weeks ago, security officials said, AP reports.
The dam on the Tigris River supplies electricity and water to most parts of the country. According General Tawfik Desty, Peshmerga or Kurdish forces launched an assault on Mosul Dam earlier on Sunday, and the US military conducted 14 airstrikes.
The US has carried out air strikes against Islamic State militants next to Erbil, the Kurdish capital and the Mosul Dam.
"The nine air strikes conducted thus far destroyed or damaged four armored personnel carriers, seven armed vehicles, two Humvees and an armored vehicle," the US Central Command said.
Kurdish forces backed up by US airstrikes are fighting to retake the strategic Mosul dam from Islamic State (IS) militants in northern Iraq. The operation began on Saturday morning with raids by F-18 Hornet fighters and drones, according to US officials. Kurdish peshmerga fighters have shelled IS militant’s positions and there is an unconfirmed report of a ground attack.
A website owned by a young Polish man has unwittingly helped the Islamic State spread their propaganda around the globe through the posting of videos and images, as numerous social platforms are outlawing material from the militant group.