Rocket attack kills six in Iraq’s oil-rich Kirkuk

A car drives near a flag belonging to Islamic State militants at the end of a bridge in southern Kirkuk, August 23, 2014. (Reuters)
Updated 25 August 2019
0

Rocket attack kills six in Iraq’s oil-rich Kirkuk

  • The attack occurred late Saturday in the village of Daquq
  • The area of the attack is controlled by the Popular Mobilization Forces

BAGHDAD A rocket attack killed six people and wounded nine others overnight at a sports stadium in oil-rich Kirkuk, north of Baghdad, Iraqi security forces said Sunday.
“Six civilians were killed and nine others were wounded in an attack with rocket-propelled grenades and medium-grade weapons,” they said in a statement.
It said the attack targeted a football stadium in Daquq in the ethnically diverse province of Kirkuk.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but security forces pointed the finger at Daesh “terrorist gangs.”
Iraq announced victory against Daesh in late 2017 after three years of ferocious fighting backed by paramilitary forces and the US-led air coalition.
But Daesh sleeper cells still carry out hit-and-run attacks, particularly in vast desert regions of northern and western Iraq near the porous border with Syria.
Those regions have long seen ethnic and religious tensions, with communities there remaining at odds over territory and oil.
On Sunday, the head of the Turkmen Front cast doubt on Daesh’s involvement.
“The targeting of Daquq is political par excellence, to create instability and impose political wills,” said Iraqi MP Arshad Al-Salehi.


Israel approves new settlement 2 days before polls: official

Updated 42 min 59 sec ago
0

Israel approves new settlement 2 days before polls: official

  • Benjamin Netanyahu’s cabinet agreed to turn the wildcat settlement of Mevoot Yericho in the Jordan Valley into an official settlement

JERUSALEM: Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government approved a new settlement in the occupied West Bank on Sunday, his office said, just two days ahead of closely fought general elections.

Netanyahu’s cabinet agreed to turn the wildcat settlement of Mevoot Yericho in the Jordan Valley into an official settlement, the premier’s office said.

All settlements are viewed as illegal under international law, but Israel distinguishes between those it has approved and those it has not.

Sunday’s approval follows Netanyahu’s pledge last week to annex the Jordan Valley, which amounts to one-third of the West Bank, if he wins Tuesday’s elections.

“The government passed the PM’s motion to build Mevoot Yericho,” a statement from Netanyahu’s office said as the weekly cabinet meeting was convened ceremoniously in the Jordan Valley.

Netanyahu has also said he intends to annex settlements in the wider West Bank, but in coordination with US President Donald Trump, whose long-awaited peace plan is expected to be released after the election.

The prime minister’s annexation plans could effectively destroy any remaining hopes for a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.

The Palestinians, the European Union and the United Nations condemned Netanyahu’s Jordan Valley announcement last week.

Netanyahu said the Jordan Valley annexation would not include Palestinian cities such as Jericho, but it would effectively be encircled by Israeli territory.

Netanyahu is locked in a tough re-election battle with ex-military chief Benny Gantz and his Blue and White centrist alliance, and right-wing nationalist votes are key for his Likud.