Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – The U.S.-led international coalition said on Wednesday that the average number of American troops currently deployed in Iraq amounts to 5,200 members, adding that their mission is to train Iraqi security forces and hone their combat skills.
Speaking to the Russia Today TV channel, Col. Sean Ryan, the spokesman for the coalition fighting Islamic State terror group, said that the American troops in Iraq are mainly tasked with providing logistic support and training for the Iraqi troops to help them in the fight against IS militants.
Ryan further pointed out that the international coalition will withdraw its troops from Iraq if requested by the Iraqi government.
“There are no U.S. bases in Iraq, only trainers and advisers,” Chargé d’Affaires of the US Embassy in Iraq Joey Hood told reporters on Tuesday.
The U.S. official said the “Iraqi security forces are not ready until now, to maintain security without the help of foreign forces”.
Nineveh (IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi security forces killed on Sunday four suicide bombers, who planned to carry out separate terrorist attacks in Mosul city, a security source said.
Speaking to Al Madar news website, the source said that three suicide bombers wearing explosive belts were killed before they could blow themselves up near a security checkpoint in Badush city, west of Mosul.
The source added that another suicide bomber driving a booby-trapped vehicle was also killed in the city as he planned to target the security forces stationed there.
Former Iraqi prime minister Haider al-Abadi announced in July 2017 liberation of the second largest Iraqi city of Mosul from IS militants, who had captured it in 2014.
More than 25,000 militants were killed throughout the campaign, which started in October 2016.
The campaign was backed by paramilitary troops and a U.S.-led international coalition.
Iraq declared the collapse of Islamic State’s territorial influence in Iraq in November 2017 with the recapture of Rawa, a city on Anbar’s western borders with Syria, which was the group’s last bastion in Iraq.
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi authorities has referred a mother of three to the judiciary over affiliation with extremist groups, a government agency said in a statement on Friday.
The Iraqi border crossings authority said a mother and three of her children were referred to judicial authorities having been returned home by Syrian authorities. It referred to a statement by the Iraqi embassy in Damascus which pointed to the woman’s arrest by Syrian authorities over suspicions she had links with terrorist groups.
The authority said the woman was sent back aboard a Syrian flight before she was taken by police at the Baghdad International Airport preparing for referral to concerned judicial bodies.
Iraqi prisons host hundreds of wives and children of foreign fighters who had been killed or sentenced for fighting alongside Islamic State militants.
Iraq said late 2017 it regained control over all territories occupied by the terrorist group in 2014.
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi President Barham Salih received on Tuesday an official invitation from his Egyptian counterpart Abdel Fattah El Sisi to take part in the Arab-European summit, which will be held in the Red Sea resort city of Sharm El Sheikh later this month.
Salih received the invitation during a meeting with Egyptian Ambassador to Iraq Alaa Moussa at the As Salam Palace in Baghdad, Al-Ahd News quoted the Iraqi presidency as saying in a statement.
The meeting tackled means of boosting relations between the two countries and the latest developments at the Arab and international levels, according to the statement.
Salih asked the diplomat to convey his greetings to Sisi, and expressing “his gratitude for this invitation.”
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) – Iraqi Prime Minister Adil Abdul-Mahdi on Tuesday discussed with Norway’s Foreign Minister Ine Marie Eriksen ways to develop bilateral relations and benefit from the European country’s experience in the field of optimal use of oil resources.
During the meeting, Abdul-Mahdi praised the vital role played by Norway in the fight against terrorism in Iraq and its participation in the Kuwait’s donors conference for the reconstruction of areas liberated from Islamic State militants, Iraqi website Alghad Press quoted his media office as saying in a statement.
The premier further called for expanding support programs and training courses provided by Norway to hone skills of Iraqi security forces and improve the humanitarian situation of the displaced families.
For her part, Eriksen expressed “her country’s desire to reinforce relations with Iraq, increase opportunities of economic cooperation, and exchange visits between officials of the two countries to give a push to partnership between.”
She also conveyed greetings of the Norwegian prime minister to Abdul Mahdi and invited him to visit Norway soon. At the end of the meeting, Eriksen expressed pleasure at the development and stability in Iraq.
Diyala (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi security forces killed a terrorist element and arrested eight others during raids at different areas of Diyala province, security media reported.
According to the Security Media Center, troops carried out a raid at a farmland in Khanaqin, killing a terrorist element who possessed an automatic gun and a hand grenade. Eight others were also arresed at separate raids, including one nicknamed “Abu Abdullah”, a logistics officer at the Islamic State’s so-called “Diyala Province”.
Iraq declared victory over Islamic State militants by the end of 2017, ending a three-year war against the extremist group, but security continues to hunt for group vestiges and struggle against occasional attacks claimed by the group.
Baghdad (IraqiNews.com) Iraqi National Security Adviser Faleh al-Fayyad, met Tuesday with James Jeffrey, the U.S.’s envoy to the international coalition against Islamic State militants and on the Syrian conflict.
According to Fayyad’s office, both “discussed prospects for international counter-terrorism cooperation and the importance of reinforcing efforts in that respect”.
Jeffrey assumed the additional function of U.S. coalition envoy early January, replacing Bret. Mcgurk who resigned in December, reportedly over disagreement with U.S. President Donald Trump over his decision to withdraw American troops from Syria.
Fayyad, leader of the Iran-backed Popular Mobilization Forces, the mostly-Shia troops that fought IS alongside government troops since 2014, has been touted as Iraq’s next interior minister, but his nomination was met with opposition from political groups advocating an independent figure.