Iraqi Forces Abandon Town near Air Base; 136 Killed across Iraq

Iraqi military forces abandoned the town of al-Baghdadi, which is near the air base where about 300 U.S. Marines are stationed. Also, a high profile Sunni leader was assassinated. At least 136 people were killed and 20 were wounded.

Iraq troops in al-Baghdadi suddenly abandoned their posts on Saturday and withdrew from the town in what seems to be a repeat of last summer’s mass retreat from Mosul. A police commander said that the troops left town as militants were surrounding a residential complex where hundreds of civilians live. Rockets were launched shortly after the withdrawal. At least five people were killed and seven were wounded, but many more casualties are expected. One Iraqi commander was also reported killed. About 46 militants were killed during the three days of fighting. That is 31 more militant fatalities than had been previously reported.

A leader from the Albu Nimr tribe, Sheikh Naim al-Gaoud, requested increased U.S. help, including ground troops, out of fear that the forces will completely collapse soon. U.S. helicopter gunships were involved in pushing back Islamic State militants on Friday, but did not fire any shots because Iraqi ground troops had fully handled the situation. Oddly, the town had been mostly recovered when the Iraqi troops withdrew.

In Baghdad, a moderate Sunni leader, his son, and at least nine guards were murdered after stopping at a fake checkpoint. A nephew, who is also a parliamentarian, was released after being held for some time and beaten severely. Sunni lawmakers halted parliamentary proceedings in protest. The killers are suspected of being militia members, not Islamic State militants. They wore Iraqi military uniforms during the attack. Hakim al-Zamili who now heads parliament’s defense and security committee, but is also accused of running sectarian death squads, promised to look into the incident.

Also in Baghdad, gunmen robbed a bank of $13 million dollars in U.S. currency and $84,000 in Iraqi dinars. Mortars killed one person and wounded another in Ghazaliya. Five people were wounded by mortars in Shula. In Nahrawan, mortars killed one person and wounded six more. Security forces killed 35 militants.

Militants kidnapped 41 Kurdish families near Zumer.

Security forces killed 53 militants in Garma.

Many militants were killed in Tikrit.

In Hit, dozens of militants were injured.

Author: Margaret Griffis

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