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.
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.
The leader of Lebanese Shia Islamist militant group Hezbollah, Hasan Nasrallah says that the Islamic State poses an “existential threat” in the region.
Nasrallah said the Islamic State is planning “on expanding toward Jordan and Saudi Arabia,” as he called on the Lebanese to “confront it,” Israel National News reports.
“We must find true, realistic and serious means to counter this threat,” he said adding “let’s gather our forces and strong points to counter those threats.”
“Logic, our religion, ethics and experience have taught us that if a society is facing an existential threat, the priority becomes to counter that existential threat and whoever fails to do so exposes their people to danger and slaughtering,” Nasrallah said.
The Islamic State publicly executed the muezzin as the militants blew up a Shiite prayer hall in the Iraqi town of Jalawla, witnesses and a regional police chief said.
“Then they shot him dead in front of his mosque,” police official for Diyala province told AFP. Elsewhere in Iraq, in Sayed Ahmad village ISIS also executed six policemen, the same sources added.