Attack on Iraqi barracks dents stability efforts in Sunni area
BAGHDAD — Militants in Iraq started an audacious attack on a military barracks in a remote area in the north and killed 20 troops overnight, including some who had been bound and shot at close range, authorities said on Sunday as other attacks killed 18.
The attack in the village of Ayn al-Jahish outside of Mosul mirrored two assaults earlier this year in the area targeting security forces. It represents the latest blow to the government's efforts to achieve stability in restive Sunni-dominated areas.
Gunmen staged the assault late Saturday, two police officers said, and shot some at short range while others died fighting the insurgents when they stormed the barracks. A medical official, who confirmed the casualty number, said 11 troops had their hands tied behind their backs and suffered close-range gunshots to the head.
The slain troops were in charge of protecting an oil pipeline that sends Iraqi crude oil to international markets and guarding a nearby highway. Attacks on the pipeline are common in that area near Mosul, about 225 miles northwest of Baghdad.
No group claimed responsibility for the barracks attack. However, it mirrored a February attack in the area claimed by the al-Qaida breakaway group Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant. In that one, fighters from the group killed 15 soldiers at the barracks, beheading some. In April, militants killed at least 10 soldiers at a base outside of Mosul.
Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, was al-Qaida's last major urban stronghold in the country before American troops wrested it back in 2008. However, Sunni insurgent groups remain strong in the region long after the American withdrawal from the country, challenging Iraq's Shiite-led government.
Recent attacks occur amid a surge in violence to levels unseen since 2008. Last year, Iraq had its highest annual death toll since 2007 with 8,868 people killed, according to United Nations figures.
The insurgents have been emboldened by the civil war in Syria, where rebels are fighting to oust the regime of President Bashar Assad, a follower of a Shiite offshoot sect. The rebels are dominated by Islamists and members of al-Qaida-linked or inspired groups, including the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant. Shiite militiamen from Iraq fight on the side of Assad's forces.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- Burkina Faso leader steps down, vote in 90 days
- Missing American siblings found dead in Mexico
- Burkina Faso’s parliament stormed by protesters
- Airstrikes against Islamic State fail to stop flow of jihadists into Syria
- Barricaded lawmakers fashioned ‘spears’ from flag poles in attack on Canada’s Parliament Hill
- Coalition forces end formal mission in Afghanistan’s Helmand province
- Canadian gunman’s video reveals motive, police say
- Poland to shift troops east, near conflict in Ukraine
- Toronto replaces disgraced mayor, rejects brother’s bid for top job
- Libyan army holds triumphant parade in Benghazi
- Hundreds feared killed in Sri Lanka mudslide