Drone targets base for Iran-backed militia in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD (AP) — An unmanned drone dropped explosives on a base belonging to Iran-backed paramilitary forces in northern Iraq early Friday, wounding two people, Iraqi security officials and a military statement said, amid regional tensions between the United States and Iran.

The statement said the drone dropped two grenades half an hour apart on the base in Amirli, in Iraq’s northern Salaheddin province. No further details were provided.

UN envoy decries killing of Turkish diplomat in Iraq's Erbil

BAGHDAD, July 17 (Xinhua) -- The United Nations (UN) top envoy in Iraq on Wednesday strongly condemned the killing of a Turkish diplomat in an armed attack in Iraq's northern city of Erbil, urging for a thorough probe into the attack.

Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, special representative of the UN Secretary-General for Iraq, said "this heinous attack cannot be justified under any circumstance and must be soundly condemned," according to a statement by the UN Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI).

Agony of Yazidi women torn between IS kids, or return home

14 July 2019; AFP: Freed after years in jihadist captivity, Jihan faced an agonising ultimatum: abandon her three small children fathered by an Islamic State fighter or risk being shunned by her community.

"Of course I couldn't bring them home. They're Daesh (IS) children," said Jihan Qassem matter-of-factly, sitting in a sparse concrete structure she now calls home.

EU's Mogherini supports Iraq's peace proposal over U.S., Iran tension

BAGHDAD, July 13 (Xinhua) -- The European Union (EU)'s top diplomat Federica Mogherini said on Saturday that the EU supports Iraq's proposal to hold peace conference to ease tensions between the United States and Iran.

Mogherini, the EU's high representative for Foreign affairs and Security Policy and European Commission vice president, made her comment during a joint press conference with the Iraqi Foreign Minister Mohammed al-Hakim during her official visit to the Iraqi capital Baghdad earlier in the day.

9 IS militants killed in U.S.-led airstrike in northern Iraq

BAGHDAD, July 13 (Xinhua) -- A total of nine Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Saturday in an airstrike by U.S.-led coalition in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, the Iraqi military said.

Acting on intelligence reports provided by Nineveh's Operations Command, the coalition aircraft attacked an IS position at a valley in the western part of the province, the media office of the Joint Operations Command said in a brief statement.

UNESCO names ancient Babylon city a World Heritage Site

6 July 2019; DW: The UN Education, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) on Friday designated the ancient city of Babylon as a World Heritage Site, recognizing its "outstanding value to humanity."

"The inscription represents a recognition of the outstanding human value and the unique significance of this ancient city and of the civilizations of Mesopotamia and their contributions to humanity," the Iraqi government said in a tweet.

18 IS militants killed in Iraq in anti-IS operations, airstrikes

BAGHDAD, July 3 (Xinhua) -- A total of 18 Islamic State (IS) militants were killed on Wednesday in operations by Iraqi security forces and airstrikes by international U.S.-led coalition aircraft, the Iraqi military said.

In Iraq's western province of Anbar, four IS militants were killed and their vehicle destroyed when paramilitary tribal fighters raided their hideout in Akashat area in the desert near the border with Syria, the media office of the Joint Operations Command (JOC) said in a statement.

Iraqi PM orders Iran-backed militias into army command

2 July 2019; DW: Baghdad has ordered militias to join the army and their leaders to choose between paramilitary or political activity. The move comes amid concern that Iraq could become a battleground as US-Iran tensions spike.

Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi has issued a decree seeking to bring mostly Iran-backed militias under the command of the armed forces.

Iraq sets up 'loophole' in US sanctions to buy Iranian power

Baghdad, Jul 2 (AFP/PTI) Iraq is establishing a financial "loophole" to continue buying vital gas and electricity from Iran despite US sanctions, AFP has learned, mirroring a European mechanism that came into effect Friday.

The "special purpose vehicle" (SPV) would allow Iraq to pay for imported Iranian energy in Iraqi dinars, which Iran could use to exclusively buy humanitarian goods, three senior Iraqi officials said.

Iraq's drought unveils 3,400-year-old palace of mysterious empire

28 June 2019; DW: Receding waters in the Mosul Dam reservoir have unveiled "one of the most important archaeological discoveries in the region." Researchers said the Mittani Empire is one of the least understood ancient civilizations.

A team of German and Kurdish archaeologists have discovered a 3,400-year-old palace that belonged to the mysterious Mittani Empire, the University of Tübingen announced on Thursday.

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