Tag Archives: Mosul

Turkish soldiers deployed in northern Iraq’s Mosul region, security source says

At least several hundred Turkish soldiers have been deployed to provide training in northern Iraq’s Mosul region and coalition countries targeting Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants are aware of the move, a Turkish security source told Reuters on Friday.

“Turkish soldiers have reached the Mosul Bashiqa region. They are there as part of routine training exercises. One battalion has crossed into the region,” the source said, declining to say exactly how many soldiers were deployed.

The Turkish soldiers are training Iraqi troops, he added.

 

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​ISIS in Iraq stinks of CIA/NATO ‘dirty war’ op

Iraqi Kurdish forces take position near Taza Khormato as they fight jihadist militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) positioned five kilometers away in Bashir, 20 kms south of Kirkuk

by – William Engdahl

For days now, since their dramatic June 10 taking of Mosul, Western mainstream media have been filled with horror stories of the military conquests in Iraq of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, with the curious acronym ISIS.

ISIS, as in the ancient Egyptian cult of the goddess of fertility and magic. The media picture being presented adds up less and less.

Details leaking out suggest that ISIS and the major military ‘surge’ in Iraq – and less so in neighboring Syria – is being shaped and controlled out of Langley, Virginia, and other CIA and Pentagon outposts as the next stage in spreading chaos in the world’s second-largest oil state, Iraq, as well as weakening the recent Syrian stabilization efforts.

Strange facts

The very details of the ISIS military success in the key Iraqi oil center, Mosul, are suspect. According to well-informed Iraqi journalists, ISIS overran the strategic Mosul region, site of some of the world’s most prolific oilfields, with barely a shot fired in resistance. According to one report, residents of Tikrit reported remarkable displays of “soldiers handing over their weapons and uniforms peacefully to militants who ordinarily would have been expected to kill government soldiers on the spot.”

We are told that ISIS masked psychopaths captured “arms and ammunition from the fleeing security forces” – arms and ammunition supplied by the American government. The offensive coincides with a successful campaign by ISIS in eastern Syria. According to Iraqi journalists, Sunni tribal chiefs in the region had been convinced to side with ISIS against the Shiite Al-Maliki government in Baghdad. They were promised a better deal under ISIS Sunni Sharia than with Baghdad anti-Sunni rule.

According to the New York Times, the mastermind behind the ISIS military success is former Baath Party head and Saddam Hussein successor, General Ibrahim al-Douri. Douri is reportedly the head of the Iraqi rebel group Army of the Men of the Naqshbandi Order as well as the Supreme Command for Jihad and Liberation based on his longstanding positions of leadership in the Naqshbandi sect in Iraq.

In 2009, US ‘Iraqi surge’ General David Petraeus, at the time heading the US Central Command, claimed to reporters that Douri was in Syria. Iraqi parliamentarians claimed he was in Qatar. The curious fact is that despite being on the US most wanted list since 2003, Douri has miraculously managed to avoid capture and now to return with a vengeance to retake huge parts of Sunni Iraq. Luck or well-placed friends in Washington?

The financial backing for ISIS jihadists reportedly also comes from three of the closest US allies in the Sunni world—Kuwait, Qatar and Saudi Arabia.

US passports?

Key members of ISIS it now emerges were trained by US CIA and Special Forces command at a secret camp in Jordan in 2012, according to informed Jordanian officials. The US, Turkish and Jordanian intelligence were running a training base for the Syrian rebels in the Jordanian town of Safawi in the country’s northern desert region, conveniently near the borders to both Syria and Iraq. Saudi Arabia and Qatar, the two Gulf monarchies most involved in funding the war against Syria’s Assad, financed the Jordan ISIS training.

Advertised publicly as training of ‘non-extremist’ Muslim jihadists to wage war against the Syrian Bashar Assad regime, the secret US training camps in Jordan and elsewhere have trained perhaps several thousand Muslim fighters in techniques of irregular warfare, sabotage and general terror. The claims by Washington that they took special care not to train ‘Salafist’ or jihadist extremists, is a joke. How do you test if a recruit is not a jihadist? Is there a special jihad DNA that the CIA doctors have discovered?

Militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) parading with an Iraqi army vehicle in the northern city of Baiji in the in Salaheddin province.

Jordanian government officials are revealing the details, in fear that the same ISIS terrorists that today are slashing heads of ‘infidels’ alongside the roadways of Mosul by the dozens, or hundreds if we believe their own propaganda, might turn their swords towards Jordan’s King Abdullah soon, to extend their budding Caliphate empire.

Former US State Department official Andrew Doran wrote in the conservative National Review magazine that some ISIS warriors also hold US passports. Now, of course that doesn’t demonstrate and support by the Obama Administration. Hmm…

Iranian journalist Sabah Zanganeh notes, “ISIS did not have the power to occupy and conquer Mosul by itself. What has happened is the result of security-intelligence collaborations of some regional countries with some extremist groups inside the Iraqi government.”

Iraq’s Chechen commander

The next bizarre part of the ISIS puzzle involves the Jihadist credited with being the ‘military mastermind’ of the recent ISIS victories, Tarkhan Batirashvili. If his name doesn’t sound very Arabic, it’s because it’s not. Tarkhan Batrashvili is a Russian – actually an ethnic Chechen from near the Chechen border to Georgia. But to give himself a more Arabic flair, he also goes by the name Emir (what else?) Umar al Shishani. The problem is he doesn’t look at all Arabic. No dark swarthy black beard: rather a long red beard, a kind of Chechen Barbarossa.

According to a November, 2013 report in The Wall Street Journal, Emir Umar or Batrashvili as you prefer, has made the wars in Syria and Iraq “into a geopolitical struggle between the US and Russia.”

That has been the objective of leading neo-conservatives in the CIA, Pentagon and State Department all along. The CIA transported hundreds of Mujahideen Saudis and other foreign veterans of the 1980s Afghan war against the Soviets in Afghanistan into Chechnya to disrupt the struggling Russia in the early 1990s, particularly to sabotage the Russian oil pipeline running directly from Baku on the Caspian Sea into Russia. James Baker III and his friends in Anglo-American Big Oil had other plans. It was called the BTC pipeline, owned by a BP-US oil consortium and running through Tbilisi into NATO-member Turkey, free of Russian territory.

Batrashvili is not renowned for taking care. Last year he was forced to apologize when he ordered his men to behead a wounded ‘enemy’ soldier who turned out to be an allied rebel commander. More than 8,000 foreign Jihadist mercenaries are reportedly in ISIS including at least 1,000 Chechens as well as Jihadists Saudi, Kuwait, Egypt and reportedly Chinese Uyghur from Xinjiang Province.

Jeffrey Silverman, Georgia Bureau Chief for the US-based Veterans Today (VT) website, told me that Batrashvili “is a product of a joint program of the US through a front NGO called Jvari, which was set up by US Intelligence and the Georgian National Security Council, dating back to the early days of the Pankisi Gorge.”

Jvari is the name as well of a famous Georgian Orthodox monastery of the 6th century. According to Silverman, David J. Smith—head of something in Tbilisi called the Georgian Foundation for Strategic and International Studies, as well as the Potomac Institute in Washington where he is listed as Director of the Potomac Institute Cyber Centerr—played a role in setting up the Jvari NGO.

Silverman maintains that Jvari in Rustavi, near the capital, Tbilisi, gathered together Afghan Mujahideen war veterans, Chechens, Georgians and sundry Arab Jihadists. They were sent to the infamous Pankisi Gorge region, a kind-of no-man’s lawless area, for later deployment, including Iraq and Syria.

Batrashvili and other Georgian and Chechen Russian-speaking Jihadists, Silverman notes, are typically smuggled, with the assistance of Georgia’s Counterintelligence Department and the approval of the US embassy, across the Georgia border to Turkey at the Vale crossing point, near Georgia’s Akhaltsikhe and the Turkish village of Türkgözü on the Turkish side of the Georgian border. From there it’s very little problem getting them through Turkey to either Mosul in Iraq or northeast Syria.

Silverman believes that events in Northern Iraq relate to “wanting to have a Kurdish Republic separate from the Central government and this is all part of the New Great Game. It will serve US interests in both Turkey and Iraq, not to mention Syria.”

Very revealing is the fact that almost two weeks after the dramatic fall of Mosul and the ‘capture’ by ISIS forces of the huge weapons and military vehicle resources provided by the US to the Iraqi army. Washington has done virtually nothing but make a few silly speeches about their ‘concern’ and dispatch 275 US special forces to allegedly protect US personnel in Iraq.

Whatever the final details that emerge, what is clear in the days since the fall of Mosul is that some of the world’s largest oilfields in Iraq are suddenly held by Jihadists and no longer by an Iraqi government determined to increase the oil export significantly.

Official: Intelligence community warned about ‘growing’ ISIS threat in Iraq

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The U.S. intelligence community warned about the “growing threat” from Sunni militants in Iraq since the beginning of the year, a senior intelligence official said Tuesday — a claim that challenges assertions by top administration officials that they were caught off guard by the capture of key Iraqi cities.

Earlier Tuesday, in an interview with Fox News, Secretary of State John Kerry said “nobody expected” Iraqi security forces to be decisively driven out by the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, or ISIS, as they were earlier this month in Mosul.

But in a separate briefing with reporters Tuesday afternoon, the senior intelligence official said the intelligence community had warned about the ISIS threat.

“During the past year, the intelligence community has provided strategic warning of Iraq’s deteriorating security situation,” the official said. “We routinely highlighted (ISIS’) growing threat in Iraq, the increasing difficulties Iraq’s security forced faced in combating (ISIS), and the political strains that were contributing to Iraq’s declining stability.”

Asked who failed to act, the official did not explain.

Offering a grave warning about the current strength of the group — which is a State Department-designated terror organization — the official also said that barring a major counteroffensive, the intelligence community assesses that ISIS is “well-positioned to keep the territory it has gained.”The official said the ISIS “strike force” now has between 3,000 and 5,000 members.

Further, the official said ISIS, as a former Al Qaeda affiliate, has the “aspiration and intent” to target U.S. interests. Asked if Americans have joined, the intelligence official said it “stands to reason that Americans have joined.”

The information from the intelligence community adds to the picture of what is known about the ISIS threat, and what might have been known in the weeks and months before its militants seized Mosul and other northern cities and towns.

Kerry, speaking with Fox News on Tuesday in the middle of a multi-country swing through the Middle East and Europe as he tries to calm the sectarian crisis in Iraq, pushed back on the notion that more could have been done from a Washington perspective to prevent the takeovers. Pressed on whether the fall of Mosul and other cities to Sunni militants marks an intelligence failure, Kerry said nobody could have predicted Iraqi security forces would have deserted.

“We don’t have people embedded in those units, and so obviously nobody knew that. I think everybody in Iraq was surprised. People were surprised everywhere,” he said.

The secretary noted that the U.S. and Iraq did not sign a formal agreement allowing troops to stay in the country past 2011, so “we didn’t have eyes in there.”

“But the Iraqis didn’t even have a sense of what was happening,” Kerry said.

When asked what the U.S. did to shore up Mosul, after seeing other Iraqi cities fall earlier this year, Kerry added: “In the end, the Iraqis are responsible for their defense, and nobody expected wholesale desertion and wholesale betrayal, in a sense, by some leaders who literally either signed up with the guys who came in or walked away from their posts and put on their civilian clothes.

“No, nobody expected that.”

But aside from the apparent warnings from the U.S. intelligence community, reports in The Telegraph and Daily Beast claim that Kurdish sources did warn American and British officials that ISIS was gaining strength and ready to advance, but it “fell on deaf ears.”

A senior lieutenant to Lahur Talabani, head of Kurdish intelligence, reportedly told The Daily Beast that the Kurds passed on warnings about a possible takeover of Mosul to British and U.S. government officials.

“We knew exactly what strategy they were going to use, we knew the military planners,” the official said.

The Telegraph reported that Washington and London got warnings months ago about Sunni militant plans to try and take over the northwestern region of Iraq. The Kurds reportedly had been monitoring developments on their own.

At this stage, though, the question for Kerry and the Obama administration is how far they are willing to go to shore up the embattled Iraqi government. Kerry, in Baghdad a day earlier, pressed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki to proceed with the formation of a new government — Iraq’s parliament is set to begin this process next week.

In the meantime, President Obama has committed up to 300 U.S. military advisers to help Iraq’s government fend off ISIS forces. The administration continues to weigh whether to authorize airstrikes.

via Official: Intelligence community warned about ‘growing’ ISIS threat in Iraq | Fox News.

Breaking News – Iraq formally asks US to launch air strikes against rebels

top US military commander Gen Martin Dempsey

Iraq has formally called on the US to launch air strikes against jihadist militants who have seized several key cities over the past week.

“We have a request from the Iraqi government for air power,” confirmed top US military commander Gen Martin Dempsey in front of US senators.

Earlier the Sunni insurgents launched an attack on Iraq’s biggest oil refinery at Baiji north of Baghdad.

Iraqi PM Nouri Maliki earlier urged Iraqis to unite against the militants.

Government forces are battling to push back ISIS (Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant) and its Sunni Muslim allies in Diyala and Salahuddin provinces, after the militants overran the second city, Mosul, last week.

US President Barack Obama is due to discuss the Iraq crisis with senior Congress members on Wednesday.

Ahead of the meeting Senate leader Harry Reid, a Democrat, said he did not “support in any way” getting American troops involved in the Iraqi “civil war”.

But Gen Dempsey told a Senate panel that it was in America’s “national interest to counter [ISIS] wherever we find them”.

In other developments:

US evacuates Baghdad embassy staff as ISIS militants overrun another town in northwest Iraq

A U.S. flag flies in front of the Chancellery building inside the compound of the U.S. embassy in Baghdad

Sunni insurgents led by ISIS jihadists captured the northwestern Iraqi town of Tal Afar on Sunday, reports say, as the militants continue their advance on Baghdad. The US says it is relocating some of its embassy staff to other Iraqi cities.

Follow RT’s live updates on the situation in Iraq

The militants from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIS/ISIL) overran the town after fighting with security forces, several people in the town told Reuters over the phone.

Iraqi Gen. Mohammed al-Quraishi confirmed to CNN that the city fell to Sunni rebels. Tal Afar is located in the Nineveh province and has a population of about 80,000 people, most of whom are Iraqi Turkmen.

ISIS has also reportedly captured two villages in Diyala province.

Meanwhile the US is increasing security at its embassy in Baghdad, the US State Department said, adding that some personnel will be moved out of the capital.

“Some additional US government security personnel will be added to the staff in Baghdad; other staff will be temporarily relocated – both to our Consulate Generals in Basra and Arbil and to the Iraq Support Unit in Amman,” the statement said. However, the “substantial majority” of embassy staff will remain in Iraq.

A US official speaking on condition of anonymity told Reuters that less than 100 US Marines and other military personnel are headed to Iraq to reinforce security at the Baghdad embassy.

The Embassy of the United States in Baghdad remains open and will continue to engage daily with Iraqis and their elected leaders — supporting them as they strengthen Iraq’s constitutional processes and defend themselves from imminent threats,” State Department spokeswoman said in a statement.

Meanwhile, US citizens have been advised to limit travel in five Iraqi provinces, including Anbar and Kirkuk.

On Saturday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel ordered that the USS aircraft carrier George H.W. Bush be moved to the Persian Gulf in case Washington decides to use military force in Iraq to help fight ISIS.

ISIS insurgents managed to seize the Iraqi cities of Mosul and Tikrit with an estimated 7,000-strong force. On Friday, Shia fighters attempted to counter ISIS momentum near Muqdadiya, just 80 km (50 miles) from Baghdad’s city limits.

The UN said ISIS forces have carried out summary executions and rapes as the group battles to take over the country.

Once an offshoot of Al-Qaeda, the hyper-fundamentalist group active in Iraq and Syria fell out with the global terrorist network. It gained notoriety for its ruthless tactics, which include publicly crucifying and beheading those who violate their strict religious interpretations.

Iraq came under the influence of a Shia-majority government after the US-led invasion toppled Saddam Hussein’s Sunni-dominated regime in 2003. Since the withdrawal of US troops in 2011, sectarian tensions have boiled over, resulting in Sunni insurgents increasingly waging war against the central government.

After stealing $425 million, ISIS is being called the ‘world’s richest terrorist group’

A provincial governor in Iraq says that insurgents from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) went into Mosul‘s central bank and took off with 500 billion Iraqi dinars, or $425 million.

The Washington Post reports that Atheel al-Nujaifi shared that the militants also took millions from other banks in Mosul, as well as a “large quantity of gold bullion.” With its new fortune, ISIS has more money than several small nations, including Tonga and the Marshall Islands, and can “buy a whole lot of Jihad,” Brown Moses, a regional analyst, wrote on Twitter. “For example, with $425 million, ISIS could pay 60,000 fighters around $600 a month for a year.”

The International Business Times has declared ISIS the “World’s Richest Terror Force,” but as the Post points out, it’s difficult to determine if that’s true — not everyone agrees on which organizations should be labeled “terrorist,” and it’s also hard to know the exact amount of money each group has on any given day. For some perspective, The New York Times reported that at one time, the Taliban had an annual operating budget between $70 million and $400 million, and Hezbollah worked with between $200 million and $400 million. Around Sept. 11, 2001, Al-Qaeda had an operating budget of $30 million.

Boehner : Obama ‘Taking A Nap’ as Violence Tearing Iraq Apart

John A. Boehner

John A. Boehner

House Speaker John Boehner ripped the President for not doing more in recent days to prevent Sunni jihadist militants from taking control of key Iraqi cities, including Mosul and Tikrit. Insurgents have been advancing through Iraq’s heartland with their eyes set on Baghdad, the country’s capital.

“They are 100 miles from Baghdad,” said Boehner Thursday. “And what’s the president do? Taking a nap.”

“It’s not like we haven’t seen this problem coming for over a year,” he added.

Boehner believes the U.S. should provide “the equipment and technical assistance that the Iraqis have been asking for.” The U.S. has rebuffed requests by the Iraqi government to order airstrikes in extremist areas, according to The New York Times. The Obama Administration has been reluctant to engage the recent extremist uprising as the American public largely endorsed withdrawing the last of its troops from Iraq in 2011.

Boehner said he did not know “enough of the details” to comment on whether or not the U.S. should engage in airstrikes.

Some of Boehner’s Republican colleagues in the Senate were also critical of the Obama Administration on Thursday, none more so than Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.). McCain told reporters that Obama’s entire national security team, including the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, should be replaced.

President Obama said Thursday that his team is looking to identify how the U.S. can provide greater assistance to the Iraqis.

“Over the last year we have been providing them with additional assistance to try to address the problems that they have in Anbar, the northwest portions of the country, as well as the Iraqi and Syrian border,” said Obama. “That includes in some cases military equipment, it includes intelligence assistance, includes a whole host of issues.”

“What we’ve seen over the last couple of days indicates the degree to which Iraq’s going to need more help,” he said. “It’s going to need more help from us, and it’s going to need more help from the international community…So my team is working around the clock to identify how we can provide the most effective assistance to them. I don’t rule out anything, because we do have a stake in making sure these jihadists are not getting a permanent foothold in either Iraq or Syria.”

Iraq crisis : Militants take Tikrit’ after taking Mosul

the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit. Militants battled Iraqi security forces in Tikrit on June 11, 2014. (ISIS)

the jihadist group the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) allegedly shows ISIL militants near the central Iraqi city of Tikrit. Militants battled Iraqi security forces in Tikrit on June 11, 2014. (ISIS)

Al-Qaeda-inspired militants on Wednesday seized the northern Iraqi city of Tikrit, a day after Mosul, the country’s second largest city, fell under their control.

The sweeping advances of the extremist Islamist State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and the rapid collapse of the Iraqi army, on which the United States spent at least $16 billion to build, has sent shockwaves across the region and internationally.

Militants took control of government buildings, financial institutions, weapon stockpiles, which could help them gain strength in their war against the rule of Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki.

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In Tikrit, the hometown of Saddam Hussein and the Salaheddin provincial capital, the militants seized a local prison and freed hundreds of prisoners. It lies roughly half way between Baghdad and Iraq’s second city Mosul which fell on Tuesday.

“All of Tikrit is in the hands of the militants,” a police colonel was quoted by AFP as saying.

Tikrit is the second major gain for the militants in three days

Tikrit is the second major gain for the militants in three days

A police brigadier general said that the militants attacked from the north, west and south of the city, and that they were from powerful jihadist group ISIS.

In Mosul, the militants on Wednesday seized 48 Turks from the Turkish consulate in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul, including the consul-general, three children and several members of Turkey’s Special Forces, a source in the Turkish prime minister’s office said.

Read the latest about the seizure of the Turkish consulate here

The United States has said Jihadist militants in Iraq pose a threat to the entire region and voiced deep concern about the “serious situation.”

“It should be clear that ISIL is not only a threat to the stability of Iraq, but a threat to the entire region,” State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki has said, referring to the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL) group.

Meanwhile, U.N. Secretary General Ban Ki-moon expressed grave concern about the takeover of Mosul, calling on political leaders to unite in the face of threats.

His spokesman Stephane Dujarric said Ban was “gravely concerned by the serious deteriorating of the security situation in Mosul, where thousands of civilians have been displaced.”

Full-scale war

Chris Doyle, the director of the Council for Arab-British Understanding (Caabu), told the BBC on Wednesday that Iraq is no longer an uprising or a crisis, but a full scale war.

Doyle said alongside other crises in the region, Iraq needs to be addressed with urgency and seriousness by the international community that it has lacked so far.

“It is essential that the leading international powers work with regional partners to ensure that this full scale war does not intensify further. Events in Iraq are a product of an Iraqi, regional and international failure over many years,” Doyle added.

Nouzad Hadi, the governor of the Iraqi Kurdish city of Arbil, blamed Maliki’s government for the fall of Nineveh Province, including its capital city Mosul.

Hadi told the Dubai-based Hadath TV channel that the Iraqi military forces “are well-armed with the latest weaponry from the United States” but “that Maliki’s security policy has led to this failure.”

“This is a real tragedy,” Hadi said.

Commenting on Maliki’s policy towards the Sunnis in Iraq, Doyle said “there needs to be a political approach that is inclusive, one which does not alienate the Sunni community or other major constituencies.”

“This has been a considerable failure of the government of Nouri al-Maliki, that has taken sectarian politics to a new low. Any assistance given to Iraq must be based on an inclusive political situation without which there can be no military one.”

In October 2013, Maliki and before he arrived in Washington on an official visit, six influential U.S. senators sent a letter to President Barack Obama in which they accused Maliki of pursuing sectarian policies in Iraq and of marginalizing the Sunnis.

Democrats Carl Levin and Robert Menendez and Republicans John McCain, James Inhofe, Bob Corker and Lindsey Graham warned in the letter that “security conditions in Iraq have dramatically worsened over the past two years” and that “al-Qaeda in Iraq has returned with a vengeance.”

“Unfortunately, Prime Minister Maliki’s mismanagement of Iraqi politics is contributing to the recent surge of violence,” they said.

At least 56 killed in series of Iraq bomb blasts — RT News

Ten car bombs ripped through the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least 42 and wounding dozens more, officials said. A separate blast targeting soldiers in the northern city of Mosul reportedly killed 14 more, bringing Sunday’s death toll to 56.

Nine of the blasts targeted predominantly Shiite Muslim districts over the course of half an hour, police said.

The most violent of those blasts occurred in the town of Nahrawan, south of the capital, where two back-to-back car bombs exploded near a busy market, killing seven people and injured 15 others.

Attacks in the northern Shaab and southern Abu Dshir neighborhoods killed six people each. Other explosions hit the neighborhoods of Mashtal, Baladiyat and Ur in eastern Baghdad and the northern Sab al-Bor and Hurriyah districts.

Six medical officials confirmed the casualty figures to AP. All spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the press.

Ten car bombs ripped through the Iraqi capital, Baghdad, killing at least 42 and wounding dozens more, officials said. A separate blast targeting soldiers in the northern city of Mosul reportedly killed 14 more, bringing Sunday’s death toll to 56.

Nine of the blasts targeted predominantly Shiite Muslim districts over the course of half an hour, police said.

The most violent of those blasts occurred in the town of Nahrawan, south of the capital, where two back-to-back car bombs exploded near a busy market, killing seven people and injured 15 others.

Attacks in the northern Shaab and southern Abu Dshir neighborhoods killed six people each. Other explosions hit the neighborhoods of Mashtal, Baladiyat and Ur in eastern Baghdad and the northern Sab al-Bor and Hurriyah districts.

Six medical officials confirmed the casualty figures to AP. All spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to speak to the press.

At least 56 killed in series of Iraq bomb blasts — RT News.