At least 138 people were killed and 153 wounded across Iraq on Sunday. Over half the fatalities belong to civilians or security forces. The worst attack targeted Kurds in Diyala province, not far from the Iranian border. Meanwhile, a U.S. general seems to be foreshadowing the eventual use of combat troops in Iraq.
General Martin Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said that U.S. advisors will need to assume a larger role in advising Iraqi troops, particularly during the battle to reclaim Mosul in the coming year. Last week, U.S. troops resorted to using helicopters to support Iraqi troops trying to keep the Baghdad International Airport safe. Flying in helicopters is riskier than fighter jets, as the militants have the ability to take them down. It is also starts to straddle the line between the "no troops on the ground" promise and troops that can still get killed in combat.
A dozen U.K. soldiers are in Arbil for the next week, training Kurdish forces in the use of heavy weaponry.
Minister of Electricity Qassem al-Fahdawi, who is from Anbar province, warned that 80 percent of the province is under the control of the Islamic State militants. One of the last free cities, Ramadi, came under heavy attack on Sunday.
While attending the annual Bayeux-Calvados awards for war correspondents, Jean-Pierre Perrin, a reporter for Libération, acknowledged the unfortunate news blackout in Iraq and Syria. He described the situation as "a war without witnesses."
In contrast to the U.S. occupation, when reporters were embedded with troops and others lived throughout Iraq, there are few correspondents in Iraq today, and they are not where the action is. The use of journalists for propaganda and extortion, going as far as executing them, has kept many reporters out of the hot zones.
Meanwhile, the surge in bombings continued on Sunday:
Three foreign suicide bombers attacked a Kurdish Asayesh outpost in Qara Tapa, killing 60 people, including civilians, and wounded about 120 more. The bombs hit close to the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan offices.
Two bombs in Baquba killed six people and wounded 10 more.
Shelling in Duluiya killed two children and wounded a man.
A booby-trapped corpse killed a militiaman and wounded three more when it exploded.
In Baghdad, a body riddled with bullets was found in Shoala.
A car bomb in Samarra wounded four people, including a civilian.
Security forces killed a dozen militants in Mullasi.
Fourteen militants were killed north of Ramadi.
An airstrike near Kirkuk killed nine militants and wounded 15 more.
In Muqdadiya, shelling left eight militants dead.
An airstrike in Hit killed six militants.
Four militants were killed in Mosul.
Security forces killed three militants in Jurf al-Sakhar.
In Albu Faris, two militants were killed.
A militant was killed in Iskandariya.
Many militants were killed in the Mahasna area just west of Baghdad.