Quantcast
Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
An Iraqi woman from the Yazidi community sleeps under a bridge where she temporarily settles down in Dahuk, 260 miles (430 kilometers) northwest of Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 14, 2014. The United Nations has announced its highest level of emergency for the humanitarian crisis in Iraq in the wake of the onslaught by Islamic militants who have overrun much of the country's north and west and driven out hundreds of thousands from their homes. (AP Photo/ Khalid Mohammed)
Iraqi army, militants clash west of Baghdad
Crisis » Islamic State group’s lightening advance has driven thousands of people from their homes since June.
First Published Aug 14 2014 07:05 pm • Last Updated Aug 14 2014 07:45 pm

Baghdad • Clashes between Iraqi troops and Sunni insurgents west of Baghdad killed at least four children on Thursday as the United Nations said the humanitarian crisis ignited by the advance of Islamic militants had escalated to its highest emergency level.

The extremist Islamic State group’s lightning advance across much of northern and western Iraq has driven hundreds of thousands of people from their homes since June, and last week prompted the U.S. to launch aid operations and airstrikes as the militants threatened religious minorities and the largely autonomous Kurdish region.

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

The U.N. on Wednesday declared the situation in Iraq a "Level 3 Emergency" — a development that will allow for additional assets to respond to the needs of the displaced, said U.N. special representative Nickolay Mladenov, pointing to the "scale and complexity of the current humanitarian catastrophe."

The Security Council also said it was backing a newly nominated premier-designate in the hope that he can swiftly form an "inclusive government" that could counter the insurgent threat, which has plunged Iraq into its worst crisis since U.S. troops withdrew at the end of 2011.

The U.N. move came after some 45,000 people, members of the Yazidi religious minority, were able to escape from a remote desert mountaintop where they had been encircled by Islamic State fighters, who view them as apostates and had vowed to kill any who did not convert to Islam.

They were able to reach safety after Kurdish fighters from neighboring Syria opened an exit corridor. U.S. and Iraqi forces had earlier airlifted aid to those trapped.

U.S. officials said Thursday that roughly 4,500 people remain on Sinjar Mountain, nearly half of whom are herders who lived there before the siege and have no desire to leave. The two officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak publicly.

The U.N. said it would provide increased support to the Yazidis and to 400,000 other Iraqis who have fled since June to the Kurdish province of Dahuk. A total of 1.5 million people have been displaced by the fighting.

The United States has been carrying out airstrikes in recent days against Islamic State fighters, helping fend back their advance on Kurdish regions.

French President Francois Hollande on Thursday confirmed the "imminent delivery of military equipment" to Kurdish forces in a phone call with the new Iraqi president, Fouad Massoum, Hollande’s office said. It did not specify the type or amount of equipment.


story continues below
story continues below

The statement said Paris would also provide more humanitarian aid. France has sent dozens of tons of aid in several deliveries this week.

In western Iraq, fighting erupted early Thursday in the militant-held city of Fallujah, about 65 kilometers (40 miles) west of Baghdad. The clashes on the city’s northern outskirts killed four children, along with a woman and at least 10 militants, said Fallujah hospital director Ahmed Shami.

He had no further details on the clashes, beyond saying that four other children and another woman were wounded in the violence.

It was difficult to gauge the situation in Fallujah, which has been in the hands of the Islamic State and allied militants since early January, when the insurgents seized much of the western Anbar province along with parts of the provincial capital Ramadi.

Meanwhile, eight civilians were killed in separate attacks across Baghdad on Thursday.

A bomb attached to a minibus in the central Sheik Omar area killed four commuters and wounded 11 others, a police officer said. Another bomb went off in a commercial area in the southeastern Bayaa neighborhood, killing two and wounding nine, another police officer said.

Two other civilians were killed and 11 wounded when two mortar rounds struck another residential area, he said.

Three medical officials confirmed the casualty figures. All officials spoke on condition of anonymity as they were not authorized to brief media.



Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment


About Reader Comments


Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Videos
Jobs
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.