January 21, 2014

A series of bombings in central Iraq that killed from 18 to 28 people on Monday were carried out by al-Qaeda linked fighters, according to government officials. It is believed that the militants have enough weapons to storm the country’s capital, Baghdad.

“The weapons that were brought inside Fallujah are huge and advanced and frankly enough to occupy Baghdad,” the deputy interior minister, Adnan Al Asadi, said in a speech, adding that Iraqi forces are still fighting “fierce battles” there and in Ramadi. He did not elaborate on the type or quantity of the weapons, the National daily reports.

According to tribal sheiks and witnesses of bombings carried out by al-Qaeda-linked militants, they are getting extremely authoritative in the cities, where the bombings happened. They have set up Islamic courts, kidnapped senior officials, police officers and tribal sheikhs, and broadcast calls over mosque loudspeakers for others to join them in the fight against Iraqi security forces, according to the paper.

“Daash does not accept anything that we decide,” said one tribal sheikh, who spoke on condition of anonymity for fear of being targeted by militants. “They want everybody to work under their command, under their regime.”

A series of five car bombings across Baghdad killed 17 people and wounded 49, Alsumaria TV reported.

In Ramadi city, a journalist working with the independent Fallujah TV station was shot dead while reporting on the conflict between security forces and radical fighters, security officials said.

Last month, militants of the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) took control of the city of Fallujah, as well as vast areas in Ramadi, the capital of the Sunni-dominated western province of Anbar.

Sectarian tensions arose in Anbar after soldiers loyal to the Shiite-led government cleared out a Sunni protest camp in Ramadi.

The violence in Anbar has raised the prospect of a return to the sectarian bloodshed that pushed Iraq to the brink of civil war in 2006 and 2007.

According to UN estimates, 8,868 people were killed in 2013, the highest annual death toll in five years.

Voice of Russia, AP, thenational.ae
Read more: http://voiceofrussia.com/news/2014_01_21/Al-Qaeda-linked-militants-have-enough-weapons-to-blow-up-Iraqs-Baghdad-deputy-interior-minister-1442/

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