Iraq Oil Report's Daily Brief compiles the most important news and analysis about Iraq from around the web.

Iraq restructures Diyala police after Islamic State bombing

AP reports:

Two police officials in Iraq's eastern Diyala province say authorities are restructuring a town's police department after an Islamic State-claimed truck bombing there killed 115 people. The officials say the police chief in Khan Beni Saad and three officers have been fired in the wake of the attack on a crowded market as residents began to mark the end of the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. They say two other officers are being investigated. The officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they weren't authorized to talk to journalists.

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Britain is being dragged towards Iraq conflict

Ian Birrell writes for the Independent:

Slowly but surely, Britain is being dragged back into wider military intervention in the Middle East. For months, the ground has been prepared with retired generals beating the war drums following outrages and taunts by Islamic State. Now David Cameron has said our nation must ‘step up and do more’ in the fight against the jihadists in Iraq and Syria, telling American television viewers he is determined to crush the Caliphate while Downing Street indicates his desire to beef up forces in the conflict zone.

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U.S.-backed offensive in Iraq gets off to a disappointing start

David S. Cloud and W.J. Hennigan write for the Los Angeles Times:

U.S.-backed military offensive against Islamic State fighters faltered in its first week as several hundred militants entrenched in the provincial capital of Ramadi withstood punishing airstrikes and held off a far-larger force of Iraqi ground troops, senior U.S. and coalition commanders said Saturday.

The slow going in what officials portray as a major test of efforts to bring Iraq's fractured security forces into a common front against the Sunni Muslim extremists comes as a truck bomb late Friday killed more than 100 people, including women and children, in a mostly Shiite Muslim market town about 35 miles north of Baghdad.

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Death toll rises to 120 in Islamic State suicide bombing in Iraq

Matt Bradley and Ali A. Nabhan report for the Wall Street Journal:

The death toll from a massive Islamic State suicide bombing northeast of Baghdad rose to 120 on Saturday in what has become the group’s deadliest single terrorist attack in Iraq. The suicide bomber injured at least 140 others when he detonated a small tanker truck laden with heavy explosives Friday evening in a crowded shopping district of Khan Bani Saad, a mostly Shiite town in Diyala province about 20 miles northeast of Iraq’s capital, said Muthana al-Tamimi, the governor of the province.

Islamic State claimed responsibility for the bombing in a message that was circulated by Twitter users known to be associated with the extremist insurgent group, calling it a revenge operation for the “massacres of Sunnis” in the northern Iraqi town of Hawija.

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Iraq says no alarm at prospect of hiked Iran oil exports

AFP reports :

Iraq can offset the impact of the Iran nuclear deal on oil prices and competition for export markets with higher production and improved regional trade, the oil ministry said Wednesday. The deal reached between Tehran and world powers Tuesday could lead to the lifting of economic sanctions on Iran and allow the Islamic republic to increase its oil exports. Experts predict that the return of Iranian oil exports could help keep oil prices low. Cash-strapped Iraq relies on oil exports for the vast majority of its income. "Iraq's income will be reduced but this has been taken into account," oil ministry spokesman Assem Jihad told AFP.

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Iraq: Isis bans civilians from Mosul hospitals after taking heavy casualties in Anbar battle

Johnlee Varghese writes for the International Business Times:

The Islamic State (Isis) in Iraq has banned civilians from entering the public hospitals in Mosul, as they are occupied by several of its fighters injured in a recent battle in Anbar province. Since Monday morning, Isis has barred civilian patients from entering the local public hospitals, according to reports. The militants have also banned the patients already admitted to the hospitals from leaving the premises.

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Fears ISIS could commit “genocide” in Fallujah as Iraqi government’s Anbar operation begins

Hamza Mustafa writes for Asharq Al-Awsat:

The Iraqi High Commission for Human Rights (IHCHR) has warned that the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) plans to commit “genocide” against civilians and government troops in the central Iraqi city of Fallujah, as the Iraqi government’s operation to liberate the city and other regions of the Anbar province from the extremist group begins.

In a statement on Tuesday the IHCHR said it had evidence that ISIS, which has controlled Fallujah since January 2014, was “planning to take specific measures to commit systematic genocide of all civilians who do not abide by their orders—and do the same for security forces.”

 

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ISIS arrests hundreds of shop owners in Mosul

Rudaw reports :

The Islamic State (ISIS) has arrested hundreds of shopkeepers in Mosul for failure to pay a religious tax to the fanatical group that has occupied the city in northern Iraq for more than a year, a Kurdish official said Wednesday. Businesses in the vast territories that ISIS controls in Iraq and Syria must pay their “zakat,” or Islamic alms that practicing Muslims usually give to the poor, to the militant group, known as “Daesh” in Arabic.

“Daesh arrested 355 shop owners in Mosul after they refused to pay zakat to the group,” said Saad Mamuzin, spokesman of the Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) in Mosul, who lives in the Kurdistan Region since ISIS seized the city in June last year.

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ISIS bans eid prayers in Mosul: report

Aditya Tejas reports for the International Business Times:

The Islamic State group has banned residents of the occupied northern Iraqi city of Mosul from praying on the Muslim holy day of Eid al-Fitr, claiming that the practice is not part of the Islamic religion, according to a local report on Friday.

Eid al-Fitr, known as "Feast of Breaking the Fast," marks the end of the 30-day Ramadan period and is celebrated by Muslims across the world. Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) official Ismat Rajab reportedly said that the militant group claims the practice was not "originally an Islamic practice" and was not followed by ancient Muslims. ISIS has issued a warning to all the residents to refrain from prayers on the day, Kurdish news source Rudaw reported.

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Iraq: Churches in Mosul converted to mosques by IS

Independent Catholic News reports:

The Chaldean Church of St Joseph in Mosul has been turned into a mosque by IS/ Daish. The Chaldean church dedicated to St Ephrem has also been converted. The jihadists have been established in the city since last June. turning it into the capital of their self-declared Islamic Caliphate. Some pictures of the place of worship show that the dome has been painted black, and the church - situated in the district of Maidan, in the historic city - has been stripped of all crosses and Christian symbols and images. The mosque seems to have been named after Abu Abdulrahman al-Bilawi, an Iraqi commander of Daesh killed by Iraqi police.

The church of St Joseph was a historic church in Mosul, but in recent years, due to the decrease of priests and faithful recorded after the US-led military intervention, Mass iwas celebrated only once a month and pilgrimages took place during the feast days of St Joseph.

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