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BAGHDAD, June 21, 2018 (MENA) – The Iraqi Directorate of General Military Intelligence (DGMI) announced the arrest of four terrorists, who were plotting to carry out attacks in the southern part of Mosul.

Iraq’s Alsumaria News TV channel on Wednesday evening quoted a statement from the DGMI as saying that acting on a tip-off, security forces managed to arrest the four terrorists in a preemptive operation against Daesh terrorists.

The four wanted terrorists were arrested in Al Matahen region, south of Mosul, according to the statement.

Iraqi security forces have been launching operations from time to time to detain wanted terrorists in different regions in Ninawa province.

BAGHDAD, June 17, 2018 (MENA) - Iraqi Interior Ministry said on Sunday that it arrested a terrorist cell which collaborated with Daesh terrorist group against security forces.

The terrorist cell was detained upon a tip-off, Alsumaria News channel quoted a statement issued by Iraqi Interior Ministry spokesman Saad Maan as saying.

The cell was nabbed in Sheikh Mohamed village near Tigris River, northwestern Mosul, the statement added.

DOMIZ CAMP, Iraq, June 17, 2018 (News Wires) - UN refugee agency special envoy Angelina Jolie on Sunday visited a camp for Syrian refugees in northern Iraq to drum up support for those displaced by years of civil war.

The Hollywood actress toured the Domiz camp, home to 33,000 refugees from Syria’s seven-year conflict.

Jolie arrived in the morning and met families in the camp, a United Nations official said.

A day earlier she visited Mosul, Iraq’s major northern city which Iraqi forces took back last year from Islamic State terrorists. The terrorists had occupied the city for three years and turned it into a stronghold of a “caliphate” in a military campaign that saw 900,000 residents flee.

Jolie met families from western Mosul and walked through bombed out streets, video footage and photos provided by the UN High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) showed.

Normality has returned to many parts of Mosul, with displaced residents leaving camps nearby to return home.

But the Old City in West Mosul was largely destroyed during a campaign by a 100,000-strong alliance of Iraqi government units, Kurdish Peshmerga fighters and Shi’ite militias backed by air support from a US-led coalition.

Reconstruction has been slow.

“This is the worst devastation I have seen in all my years working with UNHCR. People here have lost everything,” Jolie said in a UN statement.

“They are destitute. They have no medicine for their children, and many have no running water or basic services,” she said. “I hope there will be a continued commitment to rebuilding and stabilising the whole of the city. And I call on the international community not to forget Mosul.”

Jolie has worked for UNHCR since 2001, visiting uprooted civilians from Iraq to Cambodia and Kenya. This is her fifth visit to Iraq, UNHCR said.

BAGHDAD, June 13, 2018 (News Wires) - Iraqi Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr, whose coalition won the largest number of seats in last month’s parliamentary elections, has announced an alliance with an Iran-backed coalition ahead of marathon negotiations to form a new government.

The move, announced by al-Sadr and Hadi al-Amiri of the Fatah coalition in the revered southern Shi'ite city of Najaf, came largely as a surprise as al-Sadr has been touting himself as a nationalist leader who opposes Iranian influence in Iraq.

The new alliance controls 101 seats, still far from the 165 required for a majority.

At a news conference Tuesday, both leaders underscored that their alliance is aimed at expediting the formation of a new government and they called on others to join them.

“We had a very positive meeting in order to end the suffering of the country and the people,” al-Sadr said. “Our new alliance is a nationalist one and within the national frames.”

In the years following the US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, al-Sadr led militiamen who fought American troops in Iraq. Then they were backed by Iran, but in recent years the cleric presented himself as a nationalist leader opposed to Iranian influence and waging a public campaign against corruption.

His Sa’eroun alliance, which also includes the Communist Party and secular candidates, won 54 seats followed by Fatah, a coalition of Shi'ite paramilitaries who fought the Islamic State group in past years, with 47 seats. Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi’s Victory alliance took 42 seats.

Iraq’s May 12 elections, the fourth since the 2003 US-led invasion that toppled Saddam Hussein, has been marred by allegations of fraud and irregularities. It saw the lowest turnout in 15 years due to widespread anger at the country’s dysfunctional political class.

Last week, al-Abadi announced that a commission set up by the government to look into alleged irregularities in the vote found “unprecedented” violations and “widespread manipulation” and faulted election authorities for “not taking the needed measures or taking wrong ones.” It recommended a recount for 5 percent of the vote.

Hours later, lawmakers voted on annulling results of ballots from abroad and camps for displaced people in four Sunni-dominated provinces, and called for a manual recount of all ballots.

A few days later, a fire ripped through a Baghdad storage site for ballot boxes, drawing calls to redo the election as the country’s top judicial authority took over the Independent Elections Commission to prepare for the manual recount.

During his weekly press conference Tuesday, al-Abadi objected to a re-do of the elections, a position echoed by al-Sadr and al-Amiri.

Initial investigations, said al-Abadi, showed that Sunday’s fire was deliberately lit by “criminals who seek to sabotage the political process from one side and to steal the voters’ votes from another.”

Citing the investigation, he added that those behind it had easy access to the storage as no doors had been broken, security cameras were disabled and the fire was caused by pouring benzene in different palaces.

ISTANBUL, June 12, 2018 (News Wires) - The Turkish military destroyed 12 targets in northern Iraq belonging to the Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in overnight air strikes, it said on Tuesday, as the army steps up operations against militant targets in the Qandil region.

The targets, in northern Iraq’s Qandil, Hakurk and Avasin-Basyan regions, included shelters and ammunition depots, it said. Turkey’s army has recently ramped up strikes against the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK) in northern Iraq, which has bases in the Qandil mountains.

The army also said that 34 militants had been “neutralised” in operations in northern Iraq between June 1 and June 8. The military uses the term “neutralised” to refer to operations in which opposition forces have been killed, wounded or captured.

President Tayyip Erdogan, who faces presidential elections on June 24, on Monday said Turkey would drain the “terror swamp” in Qandil.

The PKK, which has waged a three-decade insurgency in Turkey’s largely Kurdish southeast, is considered a terrorist organisation by the United States, Europe and Turkey.

DUBAI, June 11, 2018 (News Wires) - Iraq's oil minister said on Monday producers should not be influenced by pressure to pump more oil and unilateral decisions on output could be a breach of a supply cut pact between OPEC and non-OPEC countries that could lead to its collapse.

Jabar al-Luaibi said in a statement that oil prices still needed more support and stability, and producers "should not over exaggerate the need of the oil market for more oil supplies in the time being."

The minister "rejects unilateral decisions by some oil producers without consulting the rest of the members" of the OPEC and non-OPEC pact that took part in the reduction agreement, according to the statement by the Iraqi oil ministry.

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