Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi sacked 26 military commanders on Wednesday for corruption and incompetence, in an apparent effort to improve the army`s performance against Islamic State militants.
Coalition forces launched airstrikes targeting Islamic State leaders near their northern Iraqi hub of Mosul, the US military said Saturday, without confirming whether the group`s chief Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi was killed.
Iraqi soldiers backed by Shiite militiamen retook control on Sunday of a Sunni town seized previously by Islamic militants, said an Iraqi official and state-run TV, a rare victory for Iraqi security forces that have been battling to regain areas lost to the militants.
Iraqi government forces and Shi`ite militias seized control of the strategic town of Jurf al-Sakhar near Baghdad from Islamic State on Saturday and Kurdish fighters made gains in the north after heavy coalition air strikes against the Sunni militants.
Bomb and mortar fire attacks killed ten people in Shiite areas in and around Baghdad on Sunday, as Iraqi security forces said they succeeded in breaking a siege on soldiers who had been surrounded by Islamic State militants west of Baghdad.
The shortcomings of the Iraqi military, which withered under a June militant onslaught and relies on Shiite militias for support, pose a significant challenge to international efforts against brutal jihadists.
Militants from the Islamic State group carried out a mass killing of hundreds of Iraqi soldiers captured when the extremists overran a military base north of Baghdad in June, a leading international watchdog said on Wednesday.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki refused to give up his quest for a third term in power, defying a chorus of critics demanding his replacement as the country faces an existential threat from Islamist insurgents.
As concern mounted for safety of Indians stranded in Iraq, government on Tuesday decided to monitor the situation on an hourly basis and explored possibility of ground-level cooperation with Iraqi authorities to assist its citizens in violence-hit areas of the oil-rich Gulf nation.