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Iraqi parliament
2014.07.08 04:07:34

Reuters have posted an official correction to the previous update; Iraq's next parliamentary session is postponed until August 12.

State TV had previously said that the country's parliament would reconvene on July 12.



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Commander of the Iraqi army killed
2014.07.08 04:06:50

The AFP news agency is reporting that the commander of the Iraqi army's 6th division has been killed in shelling west of Baghdad.

They're citing a spokesman in Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's office and you can find more detail on the story here.



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Parrot squawking
2014.07.08 04:04:51

A video posted by an Islamic State group-affiliated Twitter account appears to show a parrot squawking their slogan.

In the video, which is said to have been taken in Syria, a man shouts "Dawlat Islam", which means Islamic State, to which the parrot responds "baqiya", meaning "remains".

A number of videos posted by the group show fighters making prisoners shout "baqiya" .

MWC cannot independently verify the accuracy of the footage.



Tags: Iraq | ISIL | Islamic State

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Ukraine rebels regroup
2014.07.07 05:03:49

Pro-Russian fighters have converged on the major industrial city of Donetsk, a day after they were driven out of their key stronghold in eastern Ukraine.

Their commander said on Sunday that the fighters will regroup to renew their fight against the Ukrainian government.

Ukrainian troops on Saturday forced the rebels out of Slovyansk, a city of about 100,000 that had been the center of the fighting.

Click here to read more.



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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Attack struck a cafe
2014.07.07 04:43:30

A suicide bomber detonated explosives inside a cafe in a predominantly-Shia neighborhood in west Baghdad on Sunday evening, killing at least four people, security and medical officials said.

AFP reported that the evening attack struck a cafe in the Washash neighborhood, according to a police officer and a medical source said, leaving at least 12 others wounded.

The blast was a rare bombing in recent days in the Iraqi capital, which has endured a tense calm as security forces and rebels focused their resources north and west of Baghdad, with the Islamic State group's offensive.



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The independence of Iraq's Kurdish region
2014.07.07 04:41:55

Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi said on Sunday that a referendum on the independence of Iraq's Kurdish region would lead to a "catastrophic" break up of the country.

The comments from Sisi indicate a growing fear in the region that the division of Iraq could further empower the Islamic State group fighters, who recently declared a "caliphate", Reuters news agency reported.

"The referendum that the Kurds are asking for now is in reality no more than the start of a catastrophic division of Iraq into smaller rival states," Egypt's MENA news agency quoted Sisi as saying during a meeting with local journalists.

The president of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish north, Massoud Barzani, asked the region's parliament on Thursday to prepare the way for a referendum on independence.

Sisi also warned the United States and Europe about the ambitions of the Islamic State group: "ISIL had a plan to take over Egypt," Sisi said. "I had warned the United States and Europe from providing any aid to them and told them they will come out of Syria to target Iraq then Jordan then Saudi Arabia.



Tags: Iraq | ISIL | Egypt

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Security services were still analyzing the video
2014.07.07 04:23:09

Iraqi military spokesman Qassim al-Moussawi told reporters on Sunday the country's security services were still analyzing the video, purportedly showing the leader of the Islamic State group, to verify whether the speaker was indeed Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Read more on mwcnews.com



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Al-Salam (Peace) brigades
2014.07.07 03:53:49

AP reports that followers of the Shia cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has formed an army under the name of the al-Salam (Peace) brigades to defend Shia shrines.

Commander Kadhim al-Isawi  said that his fighters were deployed along with other government troops to defend al-Askari shrine, one of the holiest shrines in Shia Islam.

The Shia al-Salam brigades have been stationed in the northern city of Samarra since ISIL fighters captured swathes of territory.



Tags: Iraq | ISIL

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Analyzing the alleged video of Baghdadi
2014.07.07 03:52:33

Iraqi security forces and intelligence officials are analyzing the alleged video of Baghdadi delivering a sermon in Mosul, said General Qassem Atta, Maliki's security spokesman.

He said that specialized analysts were investigating the authenticity of the video, AFP reported.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr
2014.07.07 03:51:25

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's coalition should withdraw its support for his third term bid and pick another candidate, urged Shia Muslim cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, amid parliamentary deadlock over the formation of a new government.

Maliki has come under mounting pressure since the Islamic State group and its Sunni allies rampaged through the north and west of the country last month and declared a caliphate on land they and other armed groups captured in Iraq and Syria. [Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Islamic State group's military commander
2014.07.07 03:40:58

A picture posted by @DanieleRaineri appears to show a man matching the description of the Islamic State group's military commander, Omar al-Shishani during Friday prayers at a mosque in Mosul.

A red-haired figure can just about be made out as the camera zooms in on Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

If true, it would explain why the first row of men praying behind Baghdadi later in the video are blurred out of the image.

Al-Shishani is believed to be a Chechen who formerly served in the Georgian army.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Islamic State's campaign
2014.07.07 03:36:18

Social media has formed a big part of the Islamic State's campaign to reach out to ordinary Muslims, now the Islamic State's media arm, Al-Hayat, has released the first issue of the organization's magazine. Titled Dabiq, the issue recounts the history of the organization leading to last Sunday's declaration of the caliphate.

MWC cannot verify the accuracy of the information, which was posted by an Islamic State affiliated account.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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The first public speech Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi
2014.07.06 04:28:59

The video of the first public speech of the new caliphate of the Muslims, Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi!

Multiple translations of the speech given by Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at the Grand Mosque in Mosul.



Tags: Iraq | ISIL | Islamic State | Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi

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Iraq says footage of Baghdadi is fake
2014.07.06 04:20:47

The Iraqi government has called the video purporting to show the reclusive leader of the Islamic State praying in the northern city of Mosul 'falsified'.

Interior Ministry spokesman, Brigadier General Saad Maan, told the Reuters news agency the footage posted on the Internet on Saturday allegedly showing Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi at Mosul's grand mosque was "indisputably" not him.

"We have analysed the footage... and found it is a farce," he said.

Maan said government forces had recently wounded Baghdadi in an air strike and that he had been transferred by Islamic State militants to Syria for medical treatment. He declined to give further details and there was no way to confirm the claim independently.

The 21-minute video came after reports on social media that Baghdadi would make his first public appearance since his Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) changed its name to the Islamic State and declared him caliph, a title held by successors of the Prophet Mohammad.

[Reuters]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | ISIL

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Maliki sacks two top-ranking generals
2014.07.06 04:13:33

Iraq's military spokesman says the prime minister has removed the chief of the army's ground forces and the head of the federal police from their posts.

Lieutenant General Qassim al-Moussawi says Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki signed the papers Saturday to retire Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan, commander of the army's ground forces, and Lieutenant General Mohsen al-Kaabi, the federal police chief.

Al-Moussawi says both men left their jobs with their pensions, and no replacements have been named.

The dismissals are part of al-Maliki's shakeup of the security forces after their near collapse in the face of a sweeping offensive by Sunni rebels.

Last month, al-Maliki retired three generals who had been deployed in the north and ordered legal proceedings against them.

[Associated Press]



Tags: Iraq

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Islamic State fighters take control of Mosul's Chaldean cathedral
2014.07.06 04:06:16

Fighters from the Islamic State are said to have taken control of Mosul's Chaldean cathedral and the Syrian Orthodox cathedral in the city, an employee at the religious center has said.

After finding them empty, the rebels occupied both, removing crosses at the front of the buildings and replacing them with the Islamic State's black flag, the employee said.

The city, home to two million residents before the offensive, was a Middle East trading hub for centuries, its name translating loosely as "the junction."

Though more recently populated mostly by Sunni Arabs, Mosul and Nineveh were also home to many Shiite Arabs as well as ethnic and religious minorities such as Kurds, Turkmen, Yazidis and other sects.

[AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Syria

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Leading Sunni scholar says caliphate violates sharia
2014.07.06 03:47:39

Prominent Sunni Muslim scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi has said that the declaration of an Islamic caliphate by Sunni rebels fighting the governments in Syria and Iraq violates sharia law.

Qatar-based Qaradawi, seen as a spiritual guide of the Muslim Brotherhood in his native Egypt, said in a statement on Saturday that the declaration "is void under sharia."

"We look forward to the coming, as soon as possible, of the caliphate," Qaradawi said, of the form of pan-Muslim government last seen under the Ottoman Empire.

"But the declaration issued by the Islamic State is void under sharia and has dangerous consequences for the Sunnis in Iraq and for the revolt in Syria," he added.

Last Sunday, the rebel Islamic State group declared a caliphate in areas they control in Iraq and Syria and ordered Muslims worldwide to pledge allegiance to their leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, under the name "caliph Ibrahim". [AFP]



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State | Muslim Brotherhood | Syria

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Egypt raise fuel prices
2014.07.06 03:23:41

Egypt has drastically raised fuel prices overnight to tackle a bloated subsidy system, in a potentially unpopular move that might blow back on newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi.

With the economy battered by three years of unrest, successive governments have said the subsidies that allowed Egyptians to buy gasoline at some of the world's cheapest prices must be lifted.

[Source: AFP]



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Shia shrines in Mosul and Tal Afar
2014.07.06 03:22:21

A Twitter account associated with Islamic State fighters has published a series of pictures it says shows the destruction of Shia shrines in Mosul and Tal Afar.

The same account has posted a picture of what the user says shows a destroyed surveillance drone in northern Iraq. The vehicle appears to resemble a "Ghods Mohajer", a vehicle built by Iran, although it is flying with Iraqi markings. Here's a selection of pictures of the vehicle, unfortunately the text is in Russian. We can't verify the picture, of course.



Tags: Iraq | Islamic State

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Pro-Russia rebels and commander flee Slavyansk
2014.07.06 03:06:46

Ukraine's interior minister has said most of pro-Russian rebels and their top commander had fled their eastern stronghold of Slovyansk in Kiev's biggest success of the nearly three-month campaign.

"This morning, intelligence reported that Girkin (Igor Strelkov) and a substantial part of the rebels had fled Slavyansk," Ukraine's Interior Minister Arsen Avakov said on Saturday, in reference to the industrial city of nearly 120,000 which the insurgents seized on April 6. [AFP]



Tags: Ukraine | Russia

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