Unrest in Iraq
spreads beyond city of Mosul
Iraq’s Trade Ministry
officials were accused of helping ISIS sell
wheat smuggled from Syria.
Site of April attack in Tikrit
LONDON - Unrest in Iraq has resurfaced
in areas outside of Mosul, where Iraqi
forces backed by a US-led coalition have
been battling Islamic State (ISIS)
militants since October.
In an apparent attempt to divert attention
from Mosul, ISIS militants opened fire and
set off explosives in a suicide attack in
the city of Tikrit, killing 31 people and
wounding 42 others.
A police lieutenant-colonel said three
militants killed three policemen in central
Tikrit and then fired on civilians before
setting off bombs in homes.
ISIS claimed responsibility for the attack,
saying it was carried out by seven militants
who clashed with security forces until they
ran out of ammunition and then detonated
Ayad al-Jumaili, the man believed to be the
deputy to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi,
was killed in an air strike in the region of
al- Qaim near the border with Syria, Iraqi
state television TV said.
Colonel Joe Scrocca, a spokesman for the
Baghdad-based US-led coalition, said ISIS
militants in Mosul were estimated to be
down to fewer than 1,000.
The Iraqi government encouraged Mosul
residents not to flee during the fighting, a
policy aimed at easing the burden of
widespread displacement but which heightens
the risk of injury or death for civilians.
“Iraqi Air Force aircraft dropped hundreds
of thousands of leaflets… containing
procedures and recommendations for citizens”
in western Mosul and other ISIS-held areas,
said Iraq’s Joint Operations Command.
The advice urged “remaining inside houses
and staying away from known (ISIS) sites
such as headquarters, checkpoints,
artillery positions and barracks, because
they will be targets for our aircraft”.
Irrespective of whether they are directly
targeted, residents have been the victims of
attacks aimed at ISIS fighters in areas
populated by hundreds of thousands of
There are mounting concerns about civilian
casualties in the final phases of the
assault and questions about how quickly
Mosul can be rebuilt, repopulated and
governed in a way that avoids alienating its
The International Organisation for Migration
put the number of displaced at 302,400, many
of whom live in refugee camps just outside
UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres,
during a visit to the Hasan Sham camp for
the displaced, appealed for more aid for
the people of Mosul. “We don’t have the
resources that are necessary to support
these people and we don’t have the
international solidarity that is needed,”
“Unfortunately, our programme here is only
funded at 8%. That shows how limited our
resources are,” he said. “These people have
suffered enormously and they go on
suffering. We need more solidarity from the
In Qayara, 60km south of Mosul, doctors at
the main hospital said they sometimes
received so many dead bodies from Mosul that
they did not all fit in the refrigerator
unit and had to be left in the corridors.
“We asked for shelves but they gave us
nothing,” Dr Mansour Marouf, the hospital’s
chief surgeon, told the Associated Press.
The hospital receives no government support
— even doctors’ salaries are covered by a
foreign aid organisation. “It is shameful to
say this but we have received no help and no
support from the government at all even
though the town was liberated eight months
ago,” the doctor said.
In northern Iraq, Human Rights Watch (HRW)
said Kurdistan Regional Government forces
fired rubber and live bullets and tear gas
at protesters in Sinjar, killing one person
and wounding at least seven.
“We have not seen any evidence that military
forces in Sinjar had a legitimate reason to
fire on protesters, who presented no
apparent risk to their lives or others,”
said Lama Fakih, HRW’s deputy director for
the Middle East and North Africa division.
“The government should urgently investigate
this apparently unwarranted use of deadly
In Baghdad, the problem of corruption
remains rampant and sometimes hinders the
fight against ISIS.
Trade Ministry officials were accused of
helping ISIS sell wheat smuggled from Syria
into Iraq, Labour Minister Mohammed al-Sudani
Hassan al-Yasiri, head of Iraq’s independent
anti-graft body, the Commission of
Integrity, said officers were still
collecting part of the salaries of some
soldiers in return for allowing them to go
on indefinite leave.
“There are 1 million people in the army. In
all countries it is very hard to eliminate
corruption among these large numbers,”
Yasiri told Reuters.
Middle East Online