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Crisis in Iraq
May 29, 2017

A car bomb that exploded in central Baghdad early Tuesday killed at least 10 people and left 40 wounded, Iraqi officials said.

Police Maj. Ali Mohammed told CNN the explosion took place in "the busy al Hurriya Square," and an interior ministry spokesman said the car bomb detonated outside an ice cream shop. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility, saying they were targeting Shiite Muslims. Islam's holy month of Ramadan began on Friday, and families often are out late during the month, breaking their daily fast. Catherine Garcia

March 15, 2017

Iraqi government forces are fighting to capture the Iron Bridge in Mosul, Iraq, from the Islamic State, and if they are successful, they will control three of the city's five bridges.

The Iron Bridge links western Mosul with eastern Mosul, crossing the Tigris River, and on Tuesday, government troops were within 330 feet of the structure, Reuters reports. Federal police also killed the ISIS commander of Mosul's Old City, Abu Abdul Rahman al-Ansary. The battle for Mosul began in October, and most ISIS leaders have left the city.

Residents escaping the fighting say in the areas still controlled by ISIS, food is scarce, and militants are telling them they need to go with them as they flee their neighborhoods. Mosul is the last ISIS stronghold in Iraq, and as many as 600,000 civilians are still living under ISIS rule. Government troops have captured eastern Mosul and have taken back 30 percent of the west from militants. Catherine Garcia

December 28, 2016

In an attempt to keep the Islamic State from moving reinforcements across Mosul, Iraq, the city's last remaining bridge was destroyed on Monday.

ISIS captured Mosul in June 2014, and the battle to take it back began four months ago. The Tigris River flows through Mosul, and there were once five bridges spanning the waterway; all of them have been hit by airstrikes in order to keep ISIS from using them. The bridge was built after World War I by the British during their occupation, and the government of Iraq will replace it when ISIS "has been defeated," U.S. Air Force Col. John Dorrian, spokesman for the U.S.-led coalition, told The Washington Post.

Mosul is the second-largest city in Iraq, and the lack of bridges could make it more difficult for residents to escape; over the past four months, more than 60,000 people have fled the fighting. Catherine Garcia

December 8, 2016

The U.S.-led coalition battling the Islamic State admitted Thursday that it carried out an airstrike on the main hospital in Mosul, Iraq, NPR reports. The attack was carried out at the request of the Iraqi military, which is backed by the coalition, and was intended to target the ISIS fighters defending their last major holdout in Iraq.

Iraqi forces had reportedly attempted to capture the hospital, which is being used by ISIS "as a base of operations and command and control headquarters," but were pushed back by the militants. "On Dec. 7th, after Iraqi forces continued to receive heavy and sustained machine gun and rocket propelled grenade fire from [ISIS] fighters in a building on the hospital complex, they requested immediate support from the coalition. In support of the Iraqi Security Forces, coalition aircraft conducted a precision strike on the location to target enemy fighters firing on Iraqi forces," the coalition said in a statement.

It is not immediately clear if there were patients in the hospital at the time of the attack. The coalition "takes all feasible precautions during the planning and execution of airstrikes to reduce the risk of harm to non-combatants," it said in a statement.

"The U.S. military doesn't normally target hospitals," NPR's Jane Arraf said. "There's no word on civilian casualties." Jeva Lange

July 11, 2016

Over the next few weeks, 560 more U.S. troops will be sent to Iraq ahead of an offensive to recapture Mosul from the Islamic State, Defense Secretary Ash Carter said Monday.

On Saturday, Iraqi forces were able to recapture the Qayara air base south of Mosul from ISIS fighters, and it will be a staging hub for troops; most of the engineers, logistics personnel, and security and communication forces being deployed to Iraq will focus on building up the base and assisting the Iraqis as they start to encircle and retake the city, The Associated Press reports. "These additional U.S. forces will bring unique capabilities to the campaign and provide critical enabler support to Iraqi forces at a key moment in the fight," Carter said Monday during a surprise visit to Iraq. Mosul was captured by ISIS in 2014, and is the largest city to fall under the group's control. Catherine Garcia

July 5, 2016

The death toll from a suicide bombing Sunday in Baghdad continues to rise, with the Iraqi government announcing Tuesday that at least 250 people were killed when a truck filled with explosives targeted a busy shopping area.

The attack is now the deadliest to take place in Iraq since 2003, the BBC reports. The bombing was in the Karrada district, a mostly Shia area, where families were shopping for Eid al-Fitr, the holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan. Buildings were engulfed in flames, and some of the bodies were charred so badly, they will have to undergo DNA testing for identification. Earlier, the government estimated the death toll was at 165.

The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the blast, and Iraq remains in an official state of mourning. The government has been criticized over the attack, and angry crowds yelled at Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi when he went to the site. Interior Minister Mohammed Ghabban called the security checkpoints in Baghdad "absolutely useless," AFP reports, and he submitted his resignation on Tuesday. Catherine Garcia

July 4, 2016

The death toll from a Sunday truck bombing in central Baghdad has risen to at least 215, officials said Monday, with 175 injured and 81 bodies burned so badly they need DNA testing for identification.

The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, its third major attack in days. The bombing targeted a busy shopping district and was believed to be the deadliest single bombing in the Iraqi capital in at least seven years. It fueled calls for a crackdown on ISIS terrorist cells, and overshadowed the government's recent success regaining control of Fallujah, near Baghdad, from ISIS forces. Harold Maass

March 20, 2016

A U.S. Marine was killed Saturday south of Mosul, Iraq, after his unit was attacked by an Islamic State rocket.

Staff Sgt. Louis F. Cardin, 27, of Temecula, California, was the first U.S. service member killed in Iraq since October, NBC News reports. Several others were injured. In a statement, the U.S.-led coalition said Sunday a detachment from the 26th Marine Expeditionary Unit, based at Camp Lejeune in North Carolina, will soon be sent to Iraq; the Pentagon did not say how many Marines from the unit will be deployed. Catherine Garcia

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