161 Killed, 119 Wounded as More Iraq Cities Seized

Several more cities fell today, and even more will likely fall in the coming days. Due to the chaos, it impossible to estimate how many have been killed this week, but at least 161 people were killed today, and 119 more were wounded. Also, Turkey has threatened retaliation if any of at least 76 Turkish hostages are harmed.

The swift takeover of territory this week has made militant leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi a "rising star" of global jihad. It also makes his dream of an Islamic caliphate across the Middle East seem possible. He leads the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) which is also called ad-Dawlat al-Islāmiyya fī’l-‘Irāq wa’sh-Shām (DAASH) locally in Iraq.

The governor of Nineva province, where Mosul is located, blamed Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki for the failure in security. Governor Atheel Nujaifi said he had asked Baghdad to bomb the militants out in the desert, but the military instead lured them to the cities for battles. The Iraqi government said it asked the United States for air strikes but was rejected.

Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari, a native of Mosul, said that Baghdad will work closely with Peshmerga forces from the Kurdish Autonomous Region. This is a major concession from Baghdad, if true. They have reluctantly allowed Peshmerga in some areas of Iraq but prefer to keep them out of the security picture.

Among the cities lost today were Tikrit and Baiji. Duluiya and Yathrib were also captured. Militants took al-Dour as well. By the end of the day, militants were on the doorstep of Samarra.

Kurdish cities, such as Shangal and Tel Ward, appear to be protected by Peshmerga. Kirkuk and Tuz Khormato are also still free.

Clashes are ongoing in Suleiman Beg.

Local leaders in Baiji somehow convinced the militants to leave the area, which includes a large oil refinery.

ISIS/DAASH released a recording in which the spokesperson said they are also targeting Baghdad and even the holy city of Karbala.

Casualties across Iraq:

Seventeen civilians were discovered executed in Mosul. Tribal fighters killed 23 militants. Another 16 civilians killed.

A police captain who fled Tikrit said that his forces were fooled by the militants’ use of police and military vehicles, apparently confiscated earlier. Six policemen were executed. Hundreds of prisoners were released. Thirty militants were killed during an attack on a building. Some authorities claim the city has been liberated. Three vehicles loaded with militants were destroyed.

At a fake checkpoint near Riyadh, which was seized yesterday, militants executed 10 security personnel.

In Sadr City, a suicide bomber killed 38 people and injured at least 39 more. Three people were killed and eight more were wounded in a second bombing. Residents are stockpiling weapons in expectation of an ISIL/DAASH incursion on the capital.

In Baghdad, four people were wounded in a blast in Baghdad al-Jadida. Eighteen people were killed in a blast in Kadhimiya that also left 19 wounded.

A bomb killed four people and 13 more near Karbala.

A car bomb in Safwan killed five people and wounded five more. Safwan is in a relatively safe region bordering Kuwait.

Six policemen and Peshmerga troops were wounded during a clash in Kirkuk.

Shelling in Falluja killed a child and wounded six other family members.

In Karbala province, a bomb killed five people and wounded four others.

One person was killed and another was wounded in a blast in Madaen.

A bomb wounded 14 people in Numaniya.

Security forces killed a number of militants in Adhaim.

Author: Margaret Griffis

Margaret Griffis is a journalist from Miami Beach, Florida and has been covering Iraqi casualties for Antiwar.com since 2006.