Tal Afar – Islamic State militants executed on Wednesday nine of their senior comrades West of Mosul on the backdrop of defeats to Iraqi government troops and allied militias, an army officer has said.
Cap. Moataz al-Hamadani told BasNews that the nine leaders, of Arab and Western nationalities, were executed at the center of Tal Afar town, a major Islamic State bastion west of Mosul and near the borders with Syria (70 Km west of Mosul).
Hamadani quoted residents from Tal Afar saying that the executions came amid growing divisions and infighting among the group’s members which followed consecutive defeats to Iraqi security forces. He did not give details of the method of execution.
According to the officer, those executed included a Russian, a British and a Turkish, but he did not mention their names or ranks. There was also Abu Othman al-Suri, a Syrian who was the group’s mayor for Tal Afar, and Baisan Atallah, a member of an unidentified Arab nationality who was in charge of the town’s police force.
Iraqi government troops regained control over eastern Mosul in January after three months of fighting. Operations for the western side of the city launched in mid February, and Iraqi generals say a few hundreds of IS fighters remain in the Old City as a last refuge, with troops in control over more than 90 percent of territory.
Popular Mobilization Units, the paramilitary force fighting IS alongside government troops, have been clearing areas around Tal Afar since the launch of operations in October, putting the town under siege and isolating it from the Syrian borders.
French-born jihadis fighting for Islamic State in Iraq who get targeted for assassination deserve their fate, France’s government spokesman said on Wednesday.
The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this week that French citizens had been killed by Iraqi artillery and ground troops using location coordinates and other intelligence supplied by French special forces during the battle to drive the extremist group from city of Mosul.
About 700 French nationals are fighting in Islamic State ranks in Iraq and Syria. French officials have in the past said their priority was to eradicate them to prevent them from returning to their homeland to carry out attacks.
“I say this to all combatants who join Daesh (IS) and who go abroad to wage war; Waging war means taking risks, and they need to take on board those risks,” Government spokesman Christophe Castaner told reporters after being asked whether the new administration was comfortable with targeted killings.
Like Castaner, France’s foreign ministry on Tuesday did not deny the story, but said Paris was “carrying out its actions within the respect of international law.”
France contributes about 5 percent of air strikes to the U.S.-led coalition fighting Islamic State. It also has artillery units in Iraq and special forces operating in both Iraq and Syria.
The WSJ said Paris has for some time enlisted Iraqi soldiers to hunt and kill French fighters and the aim to some degree is to keep as many as possible from returning to France where several have already launched deadly attacks.
Former President Francois Hollande had previously said that French strikes against Islamist militants irrespective of their nationality was legitimate self-defense.
Hollande was also quoted in a book written by Le Monde reporters last year as saying that he had ordered the French secret service to carry out four executions as part of the fight against Islamist militancy.
Hawija – Islamic State militants have evacuated 850 civilians and burned their residences at the group’s main stronghold in Kirkuk to use them as future human shields, said a tribal leader.
Anwar al-Assi, who leads a tribal force combating Islamic State militants in Hawija, said in a press statement on Wednesday that Islamic State members transferred the civilians to a main playfield preparing to use them as human shields in case security forces charge at the town.
Assi said he had received information that IS executed 36 men in two days, but did not give more details about the reason or location of the execution.
IS members have been in control over Hawija, southwest of Kirkuk, since 2014, when the group came to the scene, took over several Iraqi regions and proclaimed an Islamic “caliphate”.
Iraqi government forces, backed by a U.S.-led coalition and paramilitary troops, launched an offensive in October to retake the city of Mosul, Islamic State’s largest urban stronghold in Iraq. The Iraqi government is planning to aim at other IS havens across Iraq after Mosul.
Local officials in Hawija have repeatedly urged the government to hasten with the liberation of their town.
Since taking over Iraqi regions, Islamic State members have executed dozens of civilians, security members and many of its own members for various reasons ranging from collaboration with security forces to attempting to flee areas under the group’s control, most notably Hawija.
A 17-year-old Syrian boy who was detained for allegedly plotting a suicide bombing attack in Berlin was released on Wednesday after investigators failed to find concrete evidence against him, prosecutors said.
The boy, who arrived in Germany as an unaccompanied refugee from the Syrian civil war, was taken into custody on Tuesday. Prosecutors found no evidence that he had been planning an atrocity after searching his phone and internet tablet.
“No concrete evidence was found that he was planning a crime that endangered the state,” a spokesman for prosecutors in Potsdam said, adding that there was also no evidence that he was linked to any foreign militant organization.
“This is not enough for detention, so he is free again,” the spokesman added of the boy, who was detained in the Uckermark region north-east of Berlin.
Memories are still fresh in Germany of the Berlin Christmas market attack last December, in which 12 people were killed by a failed asylum seeker who had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
Last Wednesday, police arrested four suspected Islamists in dawn raids in Berlin as the German capital geared up for a long weekend of mass gatherings, capped by a joint appearance by Chancellor Angela Merkel and former U.S. president Barack Obama.
A large majority of asylum seekers who have undergone age tests in Sweden are likely over the age of 18, the government has announced, citing examinations of wisdom teeth and knee joints.
The Swedish National Board of Forensic Medicine (Rättsmedicinalverket) announced on Tuesday that it recently conducted 581 forensic exams on asylum seekers whose ages were unclear.
The tests found that 76 percent (442) of the test results “suggest that the person examined is 18 years or older.”
An additional five people were found to “possibly” be 18 or over, and the results of just 134 people were found to “possibly suggest that the person examined is under 18.”
The exams consist of an X-ray examination of the wisdom teeth and a magnetic camera survey of the knee joint. The results are analyzed by dentists and radiologists, and a forensic opinion on the age of the asylum seeker is then sent to the Swedish Migration Agency.
The Migration Agency stated, however, that the numbers do not represent all unaccompanied asylum seekers.
“If all unaccompanied minors had undergone a medical age evaluation then the results would likely have been different,” Daniel Salehi, a manager at the agency, told Swedish newswire TT, as cited by the Local.
He added that most unaccompanied minors are actually children under the age of 18. In cases where children are clearly minors, they are registered as such without undergoing age tests.
The 581 tests are the first to be completed of around 4,200 requests from the Migration Agency.
The testing, unveiled by the Swedish government in September 2016, was implemented after authorities expressed doubt about the accurate age of around 70 percent of unaccompanied “minors” who said they were between 15 and 17 years old, the Local reported at the time.
Similar tests in Denmark in December also found that 74 percent of asylum seekers who said they were younger than 18 were actually adults.
The war against tradition and identity in the former Confederate States of America continues! Having succeeded in getting several major monuments removed in a process of ‘cultural cleansing’, the far-left are now vandalizing other memorials in a shameful lack of respect and decency.
Next thing they will be desecrating the graves of the dead. The advantage of that, for these pathetic cowards, is that the dead cannot fight back and send them running down the streets with well-deserved bloody noses!