In this past week’s world news column, I’m focusing on news from Iraq with five news stories.
Displaced Iraqi children who fled the fighting in Mosul walk at the Salamya camp for internally displaced people, south of the embattled city in the Nimrud area, on June 25, 2017, on the first day of Eid al-Fitr holidays which mark the end of the holy fasting month of Ramadan. Iraqi forces have retaken two thirds of old Mosul, a week after launching an offensive against the Islamic State group’s last bastion in the city, a senior commander said. / AFP PHOTO / MOHAMED EL-SHAHED (Photo credit should read MOHAMED EL-SHAHED/AFP/Getty Images)
From the Daily Sabah:
A spokesman for the World Health Organization made a statement that they’ve received reports of chemical attacks in Iraq, especially Mosul. According to one German newspaper, chemical weapons have been used 71 times since 2014 in both Iraq and Syria.
“Events involving the possible deliberate use of toxic chemicals to cause harms to Iraqi men, women and children increased substantially in northern Iraq in 2016,” WHO spokesman Tarik Jasarevic said.
An example of how war can destroy your culture one landmark at a time.
Mosul’s trademark leaning minaret was missing from its skyline for the first time in centuries Thursday after desperate jihadists blew it up as Iraqi forces advanced on an ancient mosque compound in the embattled northern city.
Explosions on Wednesday evening levelled both the Nuri mosque where Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi gave his first sermon as leader of the Islamic State group and its ancient leaning minaret, known as the “Hadba” (Hunchback).
The minaret dates back to the 12th century and is an iconic historical site in Iraq, sometimes referred to as the Tower of Pisa.
While some Iraqis mourned the loss of a piece of their cultural identity, others stressed that the destructions were dwarfed by the ongoing human suffering.
Muslims gather to perform Eid al-Fitr prayer at Celil Hayat Mosque in Erbil, Iraq on June 25, 2017. Eid al-Fitr is a religious holiday celebrated by Muslims around the world that marks the end of Ramadan, Islamic holy month of fasting. (Photo by Yunus Keles/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)
From France 24:
Véronique Robert was filming a piece for a program to be broadcast on France 2 when she was injured in a mine blast. Two of her colleagues were killed. Despite an operation in Baghdad before being flown to France, she died from her wounds.
Robert and her colleagues were accompanying Iraqi special forces in Mosul when the blast occurred.
The management and staff at France Télévisions “extend their deepest sympathies to her family and close friends. They offer their most sincere condolences,” the head of the news department said in a statement, describing Robert as a seasoned war reporter.