ISIS onslaught in Iraq: `It`s not a city, It`s a cemetery`

Shortly after the nomination of Iraq`s Deputy Speaker Haidar al-Abadi as premier-designate, US President Barack Obama called it as a “promising step forward” for the country that is battling insurgency and facing political crisis.

Zee Media Bureau/ Supriya Jha

  • Condemning the barbaric brutality of the Islamic State fighters, US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday describes as "disturbing and stomach turning" the image of a seven year-old boy proudly holding a rotting head of a soldier.

    "This image -- perhaps even an iconic photograph -- is really one of the most disturbing, stomach-turning, grotesque photographs ever displayed," Kerry was quoted as saying by the AFP.

    "A seven-year-old child holding a severed head, with pride and with the support and encouragement of the parent, with brothers there", he added.

  • The grisly image that was posted on the Twitter account of the boy`s father, Khaled Sharrouf (an Australian who fled to Syria to join the Islamic State), has triggered widespread outrage.
  • According to a report in the Wall Street Journal, the US intelligence experts were divided over the ability of the ISIS and they "underestimated" the Sunni extremists` despite some of them warning about the emerging threat.
  • The rapid onslaught of the Islamic State militants, who overran huge swathes of Iraq in a lightning offensive, astonished one and all. The drastic way in which the ISIS took over dozens of Iraqi towns, has raised questions over the US intelligence abilities.
  • The US has meanwhile ratcheted up its efforts to up the ante against the ISIS by directly arming the Kurds in northern Iraq who are battling the Islamic State`s onslaught.
  • Other than the US strikes and Kurdistan`s pesh merga fighters, the other robust fighting force against the Islamic State is a Turkish-based Kurdistan Workers` Party, known as PKK. The PKK has in past been notorious for violence and militancy and also the US has designated it as a terrorist organisation.
  • Najaf, the city thought to be the third holiest for Shia Muslims after Mecca and Madina, had absorbed the Christians who fled the Islamic State assault on the city of Mosul and Sinjar a week ago. The religious authorities in Najaf had welcomed the Christians with open arms offering them a safe haven.
  • In Najaf, a holy city in southern Iraq, the number of dying soldiers is increasing at such a rate that the city is running short of any space to bury the dead.

    According to a cemetery manager in Najaf, "The number of victims is increasing; (every day) about 30, 25 or 20. The number will be higher if we count all the cemeteries, as some of those killed are sent elsewhere," reported a news agency.

  • One of the Twitter users, by the name of History in Pictures tweeted that the city of Najaf had turned into a cemetery.
  • As Iraqi Army struggles to control the rapid onslaught of the Islamic State militants, more and more fresh youngsters are joining the army as soldiers are being killed in dozens per day.
  • US Secretary of State John Kerry on Tuesday urged Iraqi prime minister-designate Haidar al-Abadi to quickly form an inclusive government, while ruling out sending US combat troops to the country, the AFP reported.
  • German airline Lufthansa has said that the suspension of its flights to the northern Iraqi city of Erbil will continue due to security reasons.
  • The US President said that even though US air strikes were successful in preventing the advance of Islamic militants, only a united Iraqi government will be able to control the situation in the country.
  • US President Barack Obama calls it as a “promising step forward” for the country that is battling insurgency and facing political crisis.
  • Outgoing Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki has called the move “violation of the Constitution” and rejected the nomination, the BBC reported.
  • Iraqi President Fuad Masoum has asked Deputy Speaker Haidar al-Abadi to form the country`s next government.
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