Zee Media Bureau/Supriya Jha and Tarun Khanna
At least 26 people were killed and 36 wounded in Iraq in clashes between government forces and Sunni insurgents Wednesday, as per IANS report.
Organisation of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) is backing the decision to nominate Haidar al-Abadi as Iraq`s new prime minister.
Meanwhile, the White House has urged Maliki to step down and let Abadi succeed him.
Through various demonstrations and in meetings with President Barack Obama administration officials, American Yazidis have appealed US to help imperilled kins in Iraq, Voice of America reports.
A meeting between European Union foreign ministers is scheduled to be held on Friday wherein Iraq`s present situation will be discussed, as per reports from the office of EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton.
According to UNHCR report, over 1.2 million people have been internally displaced in Iraq. Moreover, 700,000 are displaced in the Kurdistan region.
British Prime Minister David Cameron today cut short his holiday in Portugal to chair an emergency meeting over the crisis in Iraq.
The high-level COBRA meeting is scheduled to be held at Downing Street today.
Iraq PM Nouri al-Maliki said he will not resign until a federal court rules on what he called a "constitutional violation" by the president to replace him with a member of his own party, as per PTI.
US has sent 130 more military advisers to Iraq to aid Yazidis, as per USA Today report.
Meanwhile, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that appointment of Haider al-Abadi was of no value.
Speaking in a news conference in Baghdad. Maliki said that Abadi`s appointment was a violation of constitution and thus had no meaning.
Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott has said that he won`t rule out sending troops to Iraq as time runs out to protect Iraqis trapped in mountains.
Abbott met British officials yesterday to discuss the Iraq crisis in London, where he said Australia will do what it can ... To protect people from potential genocide".
In a statement, the Special Advisors said, “These reports (of execution of 500 Yazdis and abduction of women and children) are shocking in the extreme. They show, in very clear terms, the complete absence of humanity of the perpetrators of these crimes".
"The reports we have received of acts committed by the Islamic State may also point to the risk of genocide," they added.
Expressing alarm at reports of barbaric acts meted out by the “Islamic State” on Yezidis, Christians and other minorities in Iraq, United Nations` Special Advisers have warned about the risk of genocide looming large on Iraq.
Contrast to Vatican`s earlier stance of resisting the American war in Iraq in 2003, the Holy See has this time given its nod to the US strikes against the barbaric Islamic State militants, in what is being seen as a rare exception to its peace policy.
Vatican`s endorsement of US strikes come as thousands of Iraqis including Christians escaping the IS onslaught had to flee to the mountains, sparking fears of Christians` genocide.
Backing the US strikes, the Holy See`s ambassador to the United Nations, Silvano Tomasi, called for "intervention now, before it is too late", reported the AFP.
"Military action might be necessary," he added.
Pope Francis has urged the people worldwide to pray for those driven from their homes in Iraq.`
"An appeal to all families: when you say your prayers, remember all those forced from their homes in Iraq," said a tweet by the Pope.
Lieutenant General William Mayville, Pentagon`s director of operations had earlier admitted that though the US strikes had managed to slow down the advance of the militants, it was not enough to weaken the barbaric extremists.
"We assess that US airstrikes in northern Iraq have slowed ISIL`s operational tempo and temporarily disrupted their advances toward the province of Arbil".
"However, these strikes are unlikely to affect ISIL`s overall capabilities or its operations in other areas of Iraq and Syria," Mayville told reporters at the Pentagon.
US started launching air strikes on the Islamic State targets in Iraq last week after the militants overran the town of Singer, forcing the minority groups like Yazidis, Christians and Kurds to flee to the mountains.
Britain`s Royal Air Force has deployed Tornado fighter jets to assist in humanitarian aid in Iraq, however the move has triggered speculations that the UK, may join the US in launching targeted air strikes against the Islamic State spots, reported the Washington Post.
Regretting the "extremely harrowing" plight of the trapped Iraqis, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has called on the international community to do more.
Addressing the press, Mr. Ban also underscored the threat IS fighters post to Iraq, Syria and the entire region.
“The people of Iraq – all Iraqi people – need security,” Mr. Ban said. “Yet the poison of hatred and brutality is spreading.”
Meanwhile, a suicide bombing was reported in Baghdad, at a checkpoint near the home of Haider al-Abadi, who was yesterday appointed the PM, reported the Reuters. Snubbing Nouri al-Maliki, the President had asked Haider al-Abadi to form a new government in Iraq.
Meanwhile, as a humanitarian crisis escalates in Iraq, the government is struggling in executing rescue efforts as an Iraqi helicopter reportedly crashed after having airdropped food and water to the civilians trapped in the mountains in Sinjar.
According to the CNN, the chopper had also picked up roughly two dozen Yazidis, but they survived the crash, leaving only the pilot dead, the Kurdistan Regional Government said.
In his address at a Marine base Camp Pendleton in California, Hagel said that "assessment team members" had been sent to the northern city of Irbil for carrying out more “in-depth assessment” of where we can continue to help”.
US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel however, clarified that these were not “a combat boots on the ground kind of operation" as made clear by President Barack Obama`s policy of not returning to Iraq for combat.
Ratcheting up its efforts in the rescue of thousands of Yazaidis and other Iraqis trapped in Sinjar mountains, the US has decided to dispatch 130 additional Marines and Special Forces to Iraq.
However, an estimated 20,000-30,000 people remain trapped on Sinjar mountain with no food, water or shelter, UNHCR spokesperson Adrian Edwards said.
According to the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees, 35,000 people managed to escape from the Sinjar mountains on Tuesday and now they have taken shelter in Dohuk governorate in the Kurdish region.
Tens of thousands of Iraqi civilians who fled the ISIS onslaught are trapped in Sinjar mountains and are in terrible need of basic necessities like food, water and shelter.
According to the UN, nearly 200,000 have been displaced by heavy fighting in Iraq where the Iraqi Army soldiers are being killed by the dozens everyday as they battle the barbaric Sunni extremists who are known to carry out summary executions.
The Islamic State (earlier known as the ISIS) carried a lightning offensive in June and took huge swathes of Iraqi territory rapidly.