Iraq - updates

Rappler's latest stories on Iraq

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Facing pressure, Iraq ups probes into protest bloodshed

Oct 12, 2019 - 8:22 PM

Authorities order the creation of two new investigatory commissions

Iraqi protestors shout slogans during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services and unemployment, on October 2, 2019 in the southern city of Basra. - Popular protests multiplied across Iraq today as thousands of demonstrators braved live fire and tear gas in rallies that have left seven dead in the past 24 hours. (Photo by Hussein FALEH / AFP)

Top Iraq cleric says government responsible for protest deaths

Oct 11, 2019 - 10:15 PM

Top Shiite cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani gives authorities 'two weeks' to release the findings of an investigation into the more than 100 deaths recorded during the protests since October 1

PROTEST. This file photo shows smoke rising from burning tires during a demonstration against corruption and lack of basic services in Baghdad's al-Shaab neighborhood on October 2, 2019. File photo by Salam Faraj/AFP

Iraq begins national mourning for protest dead

Oct 10, 2019 - 9:12 PM

Since protests and violence calmed on October 8, the government has proposed reforms to lower youth unemployment, currently at 25%, while the labor ministry proposed an online job register

PROTESTS. In this file photo, Iraqi protestors shout slogans during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services and unemployment, on October 2, 2019 in the southern city of Basra. Photo by Hussein Faleh/AFP

Calm returns to Iraq as U.S. condemns violence

Oct 09, 2019 - 11:12 PM

Traffic has again clogged the main roads of the sprawling city of 9 million inhabitants. Students have returned to schools, whose reopening was disrupted by the violence.

CALM. A member of the Iraqi security forces mans a checkpoint in the capital Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Sadr City, on October 8, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraqi president urges end to 'escalation' after days of deadly protests

Oct 08, 2019 - 5:52 PM

President Barham Saleh appeals for a 'halt to escalation' and proposes a 'national, all-encompassing and frank dialogue…without foreign interference' to chart a way out of the crisis

IRAQ PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters speaks with members of police in Baghdad's predominantly Shiite Sadr City, on October 7, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Iraq military admits 'excessive force' used in deadly protests

Oct 07, 2019 - 7:00 PM

'Excessive force outside the rules of engagement was used and we have begun to hold accountable those commanding officers who carried out these wrong acts,' the military says

PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters take part in a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services, and unemployment, in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's central Khellani Square on October 4, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Protesters flood Iraq streets anew as death toll nears 100

Oct 05, 2019 - 11:04 PM

Dozens gather around the oil ministry in Central Baghdad, facing live rounds fired in their direction

PROTEST. Iraqis gatehr in Tahrir Square in central Baghdad on October 5, 2019 after a curfew was lifted following a day of violent protests. AFP photo

Baghdad clashes mount as top Shiite cleric endorses Iraq protests

Oct 04, 2019 - 10:09 PM

(UPDATED) The endorsement from Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani prompts celebratory gunfire from protesters and piles new pressure on Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi

IRAQ PROTESTS. An image grab taken from Iraqiya state TV channel shows Ahmad Al-Safi, a representative of Iraq's Shiite spiritual leader, reading a statement in which Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani urged Iraq to heed protesters 'before it's too late' during a televised speech following the weekly Friday prayer at a mosque in the central shrine city of Karbala on October 4, 2019. AFP PHOTO / HO / IRAQIYA TV

Iraq forces fire on dozens of protesters in Baghdad

Oct 04, 2019 - 3:37 PM

The security forces fired directly at the protesters, not in the air, an Agence France-Presse correspondent says.There is no immediate word on any casualties.

IRAQ PROTESTS. Iraqi protesters gather in front of Iraqi security forces during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services, and unemployment in the Iraqi capital Baghdad's central Tayeran Square on October 3, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Death toll rises to 19 as Iraq protests spread across south

Oct 03, 2019 - 2:04 PM

(3rd UPDATE) Braving live fire, tear gas and local curfews, Iraqis flood the streets for a third day in the biggest challenge yet to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi

PROTESTS. Iraqi protestors shout slogans during a demonstration against state corruption, failing public services and unemployment, on October 2, 2019 in the southern city of Basra. Photo by Hussein Faleh/AFP

Protests multiply in Iraqi capital after 3 killed

Oct 02, 2019 - 9:29 PM

(UPDATED) The demonstrations are the first major challenge to Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi, who formed his government a year ago this month and who controversially blamed the violence on 'aggressors' among the protesters

PROTEST. Smoke rises from burning tires during a demonstration against corruption and lack of basic services in Baghdad's al-Shaab neighborhood on October 2, 2019. Photo by Salam Faraj/AFP

In first, Iraq PM points finger at Israel on base attacks

Oct 01, 2019 - 10:00 AM

Iraq Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi says his government had 'indications' Israel was behind some attacks on paramilitary bases this summer

Members of the "Liwa al-Tafuf" 13th Brigade of Iraq's Shiite Muslim Hashed al-Shaabi (Popular Mobilisation units) paramilitary show off their skills during a graduation ceremony at a training centre in the central Iraqi city of Karbala on August 30, 2019.  Mohammed SAWAF / AFP

Iraq, Syria reopen major border crossing retaken from ISIS

Sep 30, 2019 - 11:07 PM

It is the only crossing between the two countries controlled by Syrian regime forces on one side and Iraqi federal authorities on the other

Members of the Syrian security forces gather at the border-crossing between Albu Kamal in Syria and Al-Qaim in Iraq, taken from the Syrian side in the eastern region of Deir Ezzor, on September 30, 2019. Photo by AFP

Iraq denies links to drone attack on Saudi oil plants

Sep 15, 2019 - 8:40 PM

Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi says 'Iraq is constitutionally committed to preventing any use of its soil to attack its neighbors'

A picture taken on May 10, 2016 shows over Shaybah, the base for Saudi Aramco's Natural Gas Liquids plant and oil production in the surrounding Shaybah field in Saudi Arabia's remote Empty quarter desert close to the United Arab Emirates, on May 10, 2016. Despite collapsed global oil prices, production is expanding at Shaybah, as it is in other units of the company at the centre of the kingdom's Vision 2030 drive for diversification away from oil. The Saudi government plans to sell less than five percent of the company in what officials say will be the world's largest-ever share offering, while transforming Saudi Aramco into "a global industrial conglomerate". By 2020 the company says it will have tripled its gas processing capacity from levels at the turn of the century. / AFP PHOTO / IAN TIMBERLAKE

Beats replace bombs: Young Iraqis revel at summer festival

Aug 17, 2019 - 8:10 PM

Friday's festival is the latest indication that Iraq is entering a phase of relative stability

SUMMER FESTIVAL. Youths dance during an electronic dance music event, during the annual Baghdad Summer Festival at the People's Hall in the Iraqi capital on August 16, 2019. Photo by Ahmad Al-Rubaye/AFP

Meet PH’s new friends: U.N.-member countries that voted vs human rights resolution

Jul 12, 2019 - 2:58 PM

These are governments widely criticized for human rights violations, crackdown on dissent, and the stifling of democracy. Some are headed by leaders who bear similarities with President Rodrigo Duterte.

Iraq officially invites Pope to visit

Jun 20, 2019 - 11:33 PM

'I am honored to officially extend an invitation to Your Holiness to visit Iraq – the cradle of civilization and the birthplace of Abraham, the father of the faithful and messenger of the divine religions,' says President Barham Saleh

IRAQ INVITES POPE. In this file photo, Pope Francis waves as he boards a plane upon his departure for a three-day trip to Romania, on May 31, 2019 at Rome's Fiumicino airport . File photo by Alberto Pizzoli/AFP

Iraq looking at options in case Gulf oil route cut – spokesman

Jun 17, 2019 - 11:46 PM

Lawmakers have also called for an emergency session with Iraq's ministers of oil, trade, planning and transport to 'prepare to confront the possible dangers'

TO PORT. This picture taken on June 15, 2019 shows tanker ships in the waters of the Gulf of Oman off the coast of the eastern UAE emirate of Fujairah. Photo by Giuseppe Cacace/AFP

US grants energy-hungry Iraq new Iran sanctions waiver – source

Jun 15, 2019 - 6:55 PM

Iranian energy imports are vital to Iraq, one of the world's hottest countries, which faces chronic blackouts that often leave homes without power for up to 20 hours a day

IRAQ ELECTRICITY. Iraq faces chronic blackouts that often leave homes without power for up to 20 hours a day. Photo by Sabah Arar/AFP

Islamic State make first claim of Mozambique presence – SITE

Jun 05, 2019 - 6:20 PM

But an insurgency expert who has declined to be named says Islamic State are unlikely to have direct contact with the local fighters

3 French ISIS members sentenced to death in Iraq

May 26, 2019 - 7:35 PM

The 3 sentenced are among 12 French citizens who were caught in Syria and transferred to Iraqi custody in February 2019

LINKS. Iraq sentences more than 600 people suspected of links to the militant group a year after the end of a 3-year war against the jihadists. Photo from Shutterstock

Iraq warns of 'danger of war' as Iranian foreign minister visits

May 26, 2019 - 5:53 PM

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi pleads for the 'stability of the region and the upholding of the nuclear deal,' referring to a 2015 agreement between Iran and major powers

Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammad Ali al-Hakim (R) meets Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Baghdad on May 26, 2019.  SABAH ARAR / AFP

Iraqis use budding ecotourism to save marshes

May 25, 2019 - 6:29 PM

Straddling Iraq's famous Tigris and Euphrates rivers, the Mesopotamian marshes are a rare aquatic ecosystem in a country nearly half of which is covered in cracked desert. Legend has it, they were home to the biblical Garden of Eden.

This picture taken on March 29, 2019 shows a floating palm reed-woven house for tourists in the marshes of the southern Iraqi district of Chibayish in Dhi Qar province, about 120 kilometres northwest of the southern city of Basra. Thirty years after Saddam Hussein starved them of water, Iraq's southern marshes are blossoming once more thanks to a wave of ecotourists picnicking and paddling down their replenished river bends. Hussein FALEH / AFP

U.S. orders non-emergency embassy staff to leave Baghdad, Arbil

May 15, 2019 - 7:31 PM

A State Department advisory announcing the partial embassy closures warns of numerous terrorist and insurgent groups active in Iraq

US-IRAN TENSIONS. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo (R) walks with Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs at the State Department David Satterfield and Charge D'affaires at the US Embassy in Baghdad Joey Hood (2nd R) upon arrival in Baghdad for meetings on May 7, 2019. File photo by  Mandel Ngan/Pool/AFP

More Sri Lanka attacks feared as Muslims condemn Easter bombs

May 03, 2019 - 10:04 PM

Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe hopes normality will return by Monday, May 6, when public schools reopen after an extended Easter vacation

ISIS chief refers to Syria defeat in first video in 5 years

Apr 30, 2019 - 12:40 AM

(UPDATED) In the video released by ISIS' Al-Furqan media arm, the man said to be Baghdadi refers to the monthslong fight for ISIS' final redoubt Baghouz, which ended in March

ISIS CHIEF. In this undated and unlocated tv grab taken from a video released by Al-Furqan media, the chief of the Islamic State group Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi appears for the first time in 5 years in a propaganda video. AFP PHOTO / SOURCE / AL-FURQAN

Sri Lanka admits 'major' lapse over deadly Islamist blasts

Apr 24, 2019 - 8:22 PM

Police have so far arrested 58 people, all Sri Lankans, and security remains heavy, with bomb squads carrying out several controlled explosions of suspect packages

'MAJOR' LAPSE. Security personnel stand guard near St. Anthony's Shrine in Colombo on April 24, 2019, 3 days after a series of bomb blasts targeting churches and luxury hotels in Sri Lanka. Photo by Jewel Samad/AFP

Iran leader calls on Iraq to demand U.S. withdraw troops

Apr 07, 2019 - 11:55 PM

'Wherever they (US troops) have had an enduring presence, forcing them out has become problematic,' Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei tells Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi

American trainers take a break as they train Iraqi soldier on approaching and clearing buildings at the Taji base complex, which hosts Iraqi and US troops and is located north of the capital Baghdad, on January 7, 2015. Taji is one of an eventual five sites from which the US and allied countries aim to train 5,000 Iraqi military personnel every six to eight weeks for combat against the Islamic State (IS) jihadist group. AFP/ PHOTO/AHMAD AL-RUBAYE (Photo by AHMAD AL-RUBAYE / AFP)

Owners of Mosul ferry arrested after deadly disaster

Mar 31, 2019 - 7:36 PM

The tragedy comes after authorities had warned that water levels were dangerously high and sparked anger among Iraqis who blamed official corruption and neglect

Syria's Kurds call for international court to try ISIS jihadists

Mar 25, 2019 - 8:36 PM

(UPDATED) In this way, 'trials can be conducted fairly and in accordance with international law and human rights covenants and charters,' the Syria Kurdish administration says

ISIS IN SYRIA. Men suspected of being Islamic State fighters wait to be searched by members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces after leaving the ISIS group's last holdout of Baghouz, in Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province on February 22, 2019. File photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Iraq parliament sacks governor over deadly ferry capsize

Mar 24, 2019 - 9:40 PM

Niveneh provincial governor Nawfel Akoub's 'negligence and concrete failings' merit his dismissal, Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mehdi says

Iraqi PM asks parliament to fire governor over deadly ferry capsize

Mar 23, 2019 - 6:01 PM

In a letter to the speaker of parliament, Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi says there was clear evidence of 'negligence and concrete failings' that merited a vote on dismissing governor Nawfel Akoub

U.S.-backed Syrian forces fight last ISIS jihadists

Mar 23, 2019 - 10:06 AM

Though the WHite House says the 'caliphate' has been wiped out, the Syrian Democratic Forces say clashes are still ongoing

WAR. A fighter of the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) loads an ammunition belt at a position in the village of Baghouz, near Syria's border with Iraq, in the eastern Deir Ezzor province on March 15, 2019 during the SDF's preparations to advance in the battle against the last pocket of Islamic State group jihadists. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Anger, grief sweep Iraq's Mosul as ferry disaster toll hits 100

Mar 22, 2019 - 8:53 PM

Residents of the northern city, scarred by years of jihadist rule, demand justice as Prime Minister Adel Abdel Mahdi decrees 3 days of national mourning following the accident

RESCUE. Emergency personnel arrive on March 21, 2019, at the site of a popular picnic area in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul on the shores of the Tigris river, after a ferry sank leaving more than 70 people dead in Iraq's worst accident in years. Photo by Waleed Al-Khaled/AFP

Almost 100 dead as Iraq ferry sinks on spring holiday trip

Mar 22, 2019 - 12:10 AM

(UPDATED) The accident sparks an outpouring of grief among residents who only recently resumed festivities on the banks of the Tigris after the northern city's recapture from the Islamic State group

Syria force combs last ISIS hideouts in Baghouz

Mar 21, 2019 - 11:24 PM

Syrian Democratic Forces spokesman Mustefa Bali says a victory announcement would be premature

LAST JIHADISTS. Smoke rises in the Islamic State group's last remaining position on the eastern banks of the Euphrates River (C) in the village of Baghouz during battles with the Syrian Democratic Forces, in the countryside of the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, on March 18, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Anti-ISIS Syria force boosted as jihadist holdout shrinks

Mar 15, 2019 - 11:58 PM

The country's devastating conflict enters its ninth year with more than 370,000 dead

NINTH YEAR. People said to be members of the Islamic State group by the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces, exit with children from the village of Baghouz in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, on March 14, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

U.S.-backed Syria force pummels last ISIS bastion

Mar 14, 2019 - 7:14 PM

The US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces have since March 10 rained fire on the enclave in a bend of the Euphrates River, blitzing thousands of ISIS members into surrender

FRONTLINES. Fighters with the Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) are pictured in the town of Baghouz, on the frontline of fighting to expel the Islamic State group from the area, in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, on March 12, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

More surrenders from ISIS Syria bastion as end nears

Mar 12, 2019 - 11:36 PM

Airstrikes and shelling have pummelled Baghouz for two nights in a row, killing scores of fighters and prompting hundreds of jihadists and their relatives to surrender

TIME'S UP. A fighter with the Syrian Democratic Forces fires a machine gun in a position in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor outside the Islamic State group's embattled holdout of Baghouz, on March 11, 2019. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Iran's Rouhani seeks to counter U.S. pressure on first Iraq visit

Mar 11, 2019 - 3:05 PM

(UPDATED) Hassan Rouhani, who is on his first trip to Iraq since becoming president in 2013, hails the Islamic republic's 'special' ties with its neighbor

HASSAN ROUHANI. A handout picture provided by the Iranian presidency on February 17, 2019, shows Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during the unveiling Iran's first semi-heavy submarine. Handout photo by Iranian Presidency/AFP

In Syrian riverside camp, ISIS clings to last scrap of 'caliphate'

Mar 08, 2019 - 6:35 PM

The Syrian Democratic Forces are waiting for all civilians to be evacuated before moving in to retake the last scrap of ISIS-held territory

SCREENING AREA. Civilians evacuated from the Islamic State group's embattled holdout of Baghouz wait at a screening area held by the US-backed Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF), in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor, on March 5, 2019. File photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Mortar attack on major political gathering in Kabul kills 3

Mar 07, 2019 - 8:35 PM

The attack claimed by the Islamic State group represents a major security breach and marks a resumption of violence in the capital after weeks of calm

AFTERMATH. The Afghan relatives of a blast victim fight with a hospital security guard (C) who was restricting access of people trying to get inside Isteqlal Hospital following explosions that struck a large ceremony in Kabul on March 7, 2019. Photo by Wakil Kohsar/AFP

Syria force to resume evacuations after piercing last ISIS redoubt

Mar 05, 2019 - 7:58 PM

The latest evacuees also include relatives of jihadists, as well as civilians who had been held by the group as 'human shields'

SEARCH. A man (C) suspected of belonging to the Islamic State group, who spoke to AFP journalists in French, sits in the back of a truck as he waits to be searched by members of the Kurdish-led Syrian Democratic Forces (SDF) just after leaving ISIS' last holdout of Baghouz, in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor on March 4, 2019. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Syria force poised for final assault on ISIS

Feb 28, 2019 - 10:54 PM

The Syrian Democratic Forces estimates the number of people inside the last ISIS redoubt at anything from a few hundred to several thousand

Syria forces try to free last civilians from ISIS holdout

Feb 21, 2019 - 10:08 PM

(UPDATED) Security officials in Iraq say the Syrian Democratic Forces has handed over 130 Iraqi jihadists to Iraq on February 21, but SDF spokesman Mustefa Bali denies the claim

LAST REDOUBT. A Syrian Democratic Forces fighter uses a binocular to inspect the embattled village of Baghouz in Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province on February 19, 2019. File photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Convoy plucks women, children from last ISIS holdout in Syria

Feb 20, 2019 - 10:07 PM

Around 15 trucks carrying men, women, and children have exited the last patch of ISIS territory in eastern Syria, according to Agence France-Presse correspondents

ISIS' LAST HOLDOUT. Islamic State group's fighters and their families sit in the back of a truck as they leave ISIS's last holdout of Baghouz in Syria's northern Deir Ezzor province on February 20, 2019. Photo by Bulent Kilic/AFP

Syria jihadists trapped in last square kilometer

Feb 14, 2019 - 10:51 PM

'The fighting is fierce,' says Adnan Afrin, a spokesman for the Syrian Democratic Forces

BAGHOUZ. A military vehicle with the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces rides during an operation to expel Islamic State group jihadists from the Baghouz area in the eastern Syrian province of Deir Ezzor on February 13, 2019. Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

ISIS defends last Syria redoubt, as family members flee

Feb 14, 2019 - 1:35 AM

The Syrian Observatory for Human Rights says the Syrian Democratic Forces fighters are making painstaking progress

U.S.-backed Syrian forces battle to take last ISIS pocket

Feb 11, 2019 - 10:47 PM

More than 4 years after the extremists declared a 'caliphate' across large parts of Syria and neighboring Iraq, several offensives have whittled that proto-state down to a tiny holdout

LAST POCKET. Fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces walk in the front line village of Baghouz in the countryside of the eastern Syrian Deir Ezzor province, on the border with Iraq, on February 2, 2019. FILE Photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP

Kurdish-led forces ready for push on last ISIS pocket

Feb 08, 2019 - 10:25 PM

US President Donald Trump predicts that the once-sprawling proto-state's official death could be proclaimed as early as next week but operations have been paused for days on the main front line

SYRIAN DEMOCRATIC FORCES. This file photo shows fighters from the Syrian Democratic Forces attending the funeral of a local official that the SDF say was assassinated in a Kurdish-held area in the countryside of Deir Ezzor, in the Syrian Kurdish-majority city of Qamishli on December 31, 2018. File photo by Delil Souleiman/AFP