Rain hampers Iraqi forces’ push on Mosul Old City

By Patrick Markey for Reuters | MOSUL, IRAQ — Heavy rain slowed Iraqi government forces battling Islamic State on Thursday around Mosul’s Old City, where militants holed up in narrow alleyways and homes resisted with sniper fire, suicide attacks and car bombs. Troops from the federal police and elite Rapid Response units were about 500 …

Russia Says Starts Construction Work on Iran’s Bushehr-2 Power Plant

The Levant News – Construction and installation work has formally been started on the site of Bushehr-2 Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) in Iran’s southern port city, Russian nuclear corporation Rosatom announced on Wednesday. Rosatom said that the construction and installation work phase was started on March 14. Representatives of the Russian general contractor participated in …

Iraqi forces see off ISIS attack, seize road out of Mosul

By Isabel Coles and Ahmed Rasheed for Reuters | MOSUL/SULAIMANIYA, IRAQ – Iraqi forces saw off an overnight ISIS counter-attack near Mosul’s main government buildings and took full control on Wednesday of the last major road leading west to the militant-held town of Tal Afar, the military said. Inside the city troops battled the ultra-hardline …

Uighur IS fighters vow blood will ‘flow in rivers’ in China

By Michael Martina and Ben Blanchard for Reuters| BEIJING – Vowing to plant their flag in China and that blood will “flow in rivers”, a video released this week purportedly by the Islamic State group shows ethnic Uighur fighters training in Iraq, underscoring what Beijing sees as a serious threat. China is worried that Uighurs, …

Iraqi forces in Mosul fight ISIS counter-attack

By Stephen Kalin for Reuters | MOSUL, IRAQ – ISIS fighters launched a counter-attack against advancing U.S.-backed Iraqi forces in western Mosul during an overnight storm, as the battle for control of the militants’ last major urban stronghold in Iraq intensified. Explosions and gun fire rang out across the city’s southwestern districts in the early …

Trump’s defense chief says in Iraq: We’re not here for your oil

By Phil Stewart | BAGHDAD – The U.S. military is “not in Iraq to seize anybody’s oil”, Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said as he arrived for talks with Iraqi leaders on Monday, distancing himself from remarks by President Donald Trump. Mattis was the highest-ranking Trump administration official to visit Iraq since Trump irked Iraqis with …