Looting, Violence Continues in Captured Towns; 57 Killed in Iraq

Shi’ite militias now stand accused of looting homes in Altun Kupri (Pirde). The militias recently had been accused of destroying properties in Tuz Khormato and Kirkuk, as well as in Sunni areas of Iraq throughout the campaign against the Islamic State. A Turkmen member of the Kirkuk Provincial Council, Irfan Kakukli, called on Iraq to remove the militias from the areas claimed by both Iraq and Kurdistan. Also, the United Nations Assistance Mission for Iraq (UNAMI) expressed the organization’s concerns over the looting and violence. Karim Nuri, a militia commander in Kirkuk admitted that some members may be engaging in these acts.

On Sunday, Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi met with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Saudi King Salman in Riyadh for the initial meeting of the Saudi Arabia-Iraq Coordination Committee. Relations between Iraq and Saudi Arabia have been improving in recent years. They were strained after the Iraqi invasion of Kuwait in 1990. The next meeting is expected to take place in Baghdad.

After the meeting, Tillerson spoke about Iraq and called on the Iranian-backed Shi’ite militias and their Iranian advisers to return to their homes now that the war against the Islamic State militants is nearly complete. Though many of these militiamen are Iraqi, they’ve been supported by Iran and sometimes appear to be doing Tehran’s bidding. The United States and Saudi Arabia want to keep Iran’s influence within Iraq in check.

The Gorran political party has called on Kurdish President Masoud Barzani to step down after the disastrous outcome of the independence referendum. The Kurdish party was formed in 2009 in opposition to the ruling two-party system dominated by Barzani’s Kurdistan Democratic Party and the Patriotic Union of Kurdistan. The party wants an interim government formed.

At least 57 were killed and two were wounded in recent violence:

A family of five was killed when they returned to their booby-trapped home in Sinjar.

A clash in Riyadh left five militiamen dead and one wounded. Six militants were killed.

An attack on the Sheikh Hamad checkpoint left one tribal fighter dead and one wounded.

In Baghdad, gunmen killed a civilian.

Security forces killed 25 militants in the desert near the Syrian border.

In Qaim, airstrikes killed at least 10 militant leaders.

Airstrikes on Metabijh killed four militants.

Read more by Margaret Griffis

Author: Margaret Griffis

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