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BAGHDAD, Sept 22, 2018 (MENA) - Iran has closed down two border crossings with Iraq following the armed attack that targeted a military ceremony in Iran’s southwestern city of Ahvaz, an Iraqi well-informed source said on Saturday.

The source told Alsumaria News channel that the Iranian side closed down al-Shaib and Shalamcheh border gates to passengers and trade movement temporarily.

Iran has taken tightened security measures after today's attack that targeted a military parade in Ahvaz, leaving 11 elements of the Revolutionary Guards dead.

 

 

BAGHDAD, Sept 21, 2018 (MENA) - An Iraqi civilian was killed in an armed attack that was launched via silencers in northern Baghdad, a local security source said on Friday.

Unidentified gunmen opened fire at a civilian in Hosaynia area in northern Baghdad, killing him on the spot, the source was quoted by Alsumaria news channel as saying.

A security force carried the body to forensic medicine authorities and launched a probe into the assault, the source added.

 

KERBALA, Iraq, September 20, 2018 (News Wires) - Millions of Shi’ites Muslims gathered at shrines and mosques in Kerbala and other parts of Iraq on Thursday to mark the climax of the annual ritual of Ashura with expressions of suffering.

Huge crowds came from all over the world to commemorate the slaying of Imam Hussein, grandson of the Prophet Mohammed.

Most Sunni Muslims also mourn Hussein’s death, but less fervently.

In the past, suicide bombers staged attacks on the mass gathering hoping to trigger sectarian tensions.

Those days are gone. Iraqi worshippers are able to immerse themselves in their faith, setting aside other problems that impact daily lives, including poor government services, unemployment and corruption.

Ashura is the 10th day of the lunar month of Muharram when according to Islamic tradition Imam Hussein was killed in battle in 680.

It is observed in Iraq and in other countries with sizeable Shi’ite communities, including Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Bahrain, Iran, Lebanon, Pakistan, Saudi Arabia and Syria.

On the first day of Muharram, the army of Caliph Yazid laid siege to Hussein and followers in the desert near Kerbala. Hussein was killed in battle 10 days later after he had refused to pledge allegiance to Yazid.

Hussein was decapitated and his head was taken to Damascus, the seat of the Ummayad dynasty to which Yazid belonged.

Self-flagellation is a big part of the ritual.

On Thursday, crowds of pilgrims brandished swords. One man gashed the head of a teenager with a knife. Blood dripped down their heads to white smocks. A pilgrim banged a drum.

“Blood is but a simple thing we offer to Hussein. All we offer Hussein is actually nothing,” said pilgrim Haider Sabah.

“Even if we give our lives for him it is not enough. We are ready to offer all we have, our lives, our children and our families for Hussein to have his intercession in doomsday.”

 

ERBIL, September 18, 2018 (News Wires) - Shi’ite militia leader Hadi al-Amiri, one of the most powerful figures in Iraq, withdrew his candidacy for prime minister on Tuesday, putting the country one step closer to forming a government after months of political stagnation.

Amiri heads the Fatih Alliance, an electoral bloc which came in second in May’s inconclusive national election. His coalition has been vying to build the largest bloc which would form the government, with him as prime minister.

“I would like to announce to the dear Iraqi people the withdrawal of my candidacy for prime minister, to open the way for serious dialogue to elect a prime minister and his government according to the vision of the Supreme religious authority,” he said in a news conference.

Amiri’s Fatih alliance was composed of political groups tied to Iran-backed Shi’ite militias who helped government forces dislodge Islamic State militants from the third of Iraq they seized four years ago. His Badr Organisation controls the interior ministry.

Amiri’s Alliance has been in advanced talks with Shi’ite religious leaders Moqtada al-Sadr to form a new alliance in recent days.

Sadr, whose Saeroon bloc scored a stunning victory in the May 12 parliamentary, portrays himself as a fierce nationalist opposed to both US and Iranian interference in Iraq. He had formed an alliance with incumbent Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi since June, which looked set to falter.

BAGHDAD, Sept 16 , 2018 (MENA) - Three people were killed and six others injured in two Daesh attacks in Kirkuk and Diyala governorates, Iraqi security sources said.

A group of Daesh gunmen attacked a village in Kirkuk in the evening on Saturday killing a police officer, a civilian and injuring two others, a policeman said on Sunday.

In Diyala, an explosive device planted by Daesh gunmen on the side of the road went off targeting a patrol of Popular Mobilisation Forces, a policeman said, adding that one PMF member was killed and five others injured in the bombing.

BAGHDAD, Sept 15, 2018 (MENA) - Canada is planning to extend the period of its mission in Iraq, according to Commander of the Canadian Task Force in Iraq Colin Keiver.

The Iraqi government will rely on Canada and other international partners to maintain stability after the defeat of Daesh terrorist group, Alsumaria news channel reported, quoting Keiver as saying on Saturday.

The Iraqi government is well aware that the country is in need of constant assistance in order to ensure security and achieve stability and prosperity there, he said.

In 2014, Canada had decided to send forces to Iraq to take part in fighting Daesh militants there.

 

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