IS sui­cide bomb­ing kills 2 Iraqi army gen­er­als

The China Post - - INTERNATIONAL - BY QAS­SIM AB­DUL-ZAHRA

An Is­lamic State sui­cide bomber killed two Iraqi army gen­er­als on Thurs­day as they led forces against IS po­si­tions in the tur­bu­lent An­bar province west of Bagh­dad, mil­i­tary of­fi­cials said.

They said the bomber drove his ex­plo­sives-laden ve­hi­cle into the ad­vanc­ing troops north of An­bar’s pro­vin­cial cap­i­tal, Ra­madi, killing the two gen­er­als and three sol­diers. A mil­i­tary spokesman said on state tele­vi­sion that 10 other sol­diers were wounded. The of­fi­cials spoke on con­di­tion of anonymity be­cause they were not au­tho­rized to speak to the media.

The IS group cap­tured Ra­madi ear­lier this year and also con­trols the nearby city of Fal­lu­jah.

In Syria, IS mil­i­tants seized five vil­lages from rebel groups in the north as part of an ad­vance to­ward the strate­gic town of Marea near the Turk­ish bor­der. The Syr­ian Ob­ser­va­tory for Hu­man Rights and other ac­tivist groups said the IS car­ried out a sui­cide bomb­ing on the out­skirts of Marea amid fierce fight­ing in the area.

The Turk­ish Do­gan news agency also re­ported re­newed fight­ing be­tween IS and rebels across the bor­der from Kilis and said the U.S.led coali­tion bombed IS tar­gets in the re­gion. Do­gan video footage showed a large plume of smoke ris­ing from across the bor­der.

The IS ad­vance is in the north­ern coun­try­side of Aleppo province, near the area where Tur­key and the United States have agreed to es­tab­lish an IS-free safe zone.

A mil­i­tary state­ment read on Iraqi state tele­vi­sion iden­ti­fied the two gen­er­als as Maj. Gen. Ab­dul­Rah­man Abu-Regheef, deputy chief of oper­a­tions in An­bar, and Brig. Gen. Se­feen Ab­dul-Maguid, com­man­der of the 10th Army Di­vi­sion. The two were later given a mil­i­tary fu­neral at the De­fense Min­istry in Bagh­dad with Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi and De­fense Min­is­ter Khaled al-Obeidi lead­ing mourn­ers.

Gov­ern­ment forces and al­lied Sunni and Shi­ite mili­ti­a­men have been bat­tling IS mil­i­tants in An­bar for months but have only made mod­est gains against the group in the vast province that stretches west of Bagh­dad.

Speak­ing on state tele­vi­sion, mil­i­tary spokesman Brig. Gen. Yahya al-Zobeidi sought to play down the psy­cho­log­i­cal ef­fect of the loss of the two gen­er­als. “We will not stop our oper­a­tions and we will con­tinue to ad­vance,” he said.

There was no im­me­di­ate com­ment on the at­tack from the IS group.

The Is­lamic State group con­trols about a third of Iraq and Syria. A U.S.-led coali­tion has been stag­ing airstrikes against IS po­si­tions in Iraq and Syria over the past year.

Gov­ern­ment forces and al­lied mili­ti­a­men are com­ing un­der mount­ing pres­sure from IS mil­i­tants in the oil re­fin­ery town of Beiji, north of Bagh­dad. Gov­ern­ment forces re­took Beiji late last year from the IS, but the mil­i­tants are on the of­fen­sive there again and now con­trol about half of the town and the re­fin­ery.

Al-Abadi said this week that win­ning the on­go­ing bat­tle over Beiji is key to de­feat­ing the IS group in Iraq.

AP

Iraqi Prime Min­is­ter Haider al-Abadi, cen­ter, De­fense Min­is­ter Khaled alObeidi, cen­ter right, and gov­ern­ment of­fi­cials and par­lia­ment mem­bers at­tend the fu­neral pro­ces­sion of Maj. Gen. Ab­dul-Rah­man Abu-Regheef, deputy chief of oper­a­tions in An­bar and Brig. Gen. Se­feen Ab­dul-Maguid, com­man­der of the 10th Army Di­vi­sion who was killed in Ra­madi dur­ing fight­ing with Is­lamic State mil­i­tants, at the head­quar­ters of the Iraqi Min­istry of De­fense in Bagh­dad, Iraq, Thurs­day, Aug. 27.

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