The attempts of the Iraqi and the Kurdish forces to push back ISIS finally seem to be bearing fruits. They have only recently freed two towns in eastern province which were under ISIS control previously. The Jalula town lies 80 miles in the northeast of Baghdad and Saadiya lies 60 miles to the north. ISIS captured both towns in August.
According to police reports from Diyala province, the Iraqi forces took back control of the towns of Saadiya and Jalula on Sunday after protracted fighting with ISIS militants. The fighting has mostly died down even though there are some occasional skirmishes on the outskirts of the towns. There is no confirmation about the number of deaths on either side however it is being estimated that dozens of insurgents died in the fighting.
Many families had fled the area under the tyranny of ISIS, some of these families have started coming back home. However, it was earlier announced by the provincial police chief that the towns are military zones now and as such the families wouldn’t be allowed in until the towns have been completely purged off the mines and bombs planted in the houses and roads. The militants planted bombs in the roadsides before they left the towns, these bombs are being defused by bomb disposal unit now.
The situation in Afghanistan is worsening by the day. Suicide bombings, car bombings and other acts of violence perpetrated by the Taliban militants have become frequent. On Sunday, a volleyball match was targeted by a suicide bomber. The incident happened in Yahyakhali district; the bomber detonated his explosive vest in the midst of a crowd of civilians who had gathered to watch the match.
The resulting blast killed about 45 people and wounded over 50 more. The game was well attended as people from nearby places have come to cheer their team, as a result the crowd was dense and causalities were quite high. Most of the victims were quite young. As of now nobody has claimed responsibility for the attack but it seems in keeping with the recent trend of Taliban attacks.
This attack might have been carried out in retaliation of the recent security deals sanctioned by the Afghan MPs. According to this deal, US and Nato forces can remain in the country after other foreign troops have withdrawn. There will be around 12,000 soldiers in this force and their primary mission would be to train and advise the Afghan army and security forces.
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A group of about 20 militants belonging to the Somalian extremist group al-Shabab, seized control of a bus in northeastern Kenya and killed 28 passengers brutally. All the dead passengers were non-Muslims and 9 of them were women. The group later claimed in a radio announcement that they killed the passengers in retaliation of police raids on mosques in Mombasa.
The bus was travelling towards Nairobi when it was ambushed by the militants 50 km from the town of Mandera, situated near Kenya’s border with Somalia. All 60 passengers in the bus were forced to get off, and then they were separated into two groups; Muslim and non-Muslim.
They then ordered the non-Muslim passengers to get on the bus again after which they attempted to drive off with the bus. However, the bus got stuck and the militants executed the prisoners and escaped back to Somalia.
The al-Shabab group has close links to al-Qaeda and has been responsible for 135 attacks in Kenya since 2011 when Kenya sent troops to Somalia to stamp out insurgency by al-Shabab. On Saturday the Kenyan military claimed that they killed 45 rebels when their aircraft bombed a Shabab camp in Somalia.
The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militants have executed 25 members of a Sunni Muslim tribe in Anbar. The officials reported that the motive behind the killings was the opposition shown by the members of the tribe towards the radical Islamists.
The 25 bodies were found when the army was driving the militants away in a village on the Eastern edge of Ramadi in the Anbar province. The leader of the tribe, Albu Fahd, Sheikh Rafie al-Fahdawi, said that the number of the casualties could be even higher. Since there were no weapons found near the dead bodies, it was being assumed that the people were not killed in combat.
The ISIS has seized control of large parts of Syria and Iraq and continues to gain territory in Anbar. The attack was focused on Ramadi’s eastern al-Sajariya neighbourhood as the road there is the key to the military airbase of Habbaniya. The ISIS fighters have till now killed nearly 200 members of Anbar’s, Sunni Al Bu Nimr tribe including women and children.
Various people in and out of the government are providing key information to the journalists on the condition of anonymity as there is a fear of reprisals among them.