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Thursday, Jan 19th

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Mass grave containing 100 bodies found in town south of Mosul

Mass grave IraqA mass grave containing the remains of about 100 beheaded civilians has been discovered inside a school in a town south of Mosul, Iraq's military said in a statement Monday.

The mass grave was found by Iraqi forces in the School of Agriculture on the outskirts of Hammam al-Alil, a town that was recaptured from ISIS on Monday, Iraq's Joint Military Command said.

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Peshmerga in heavy gun battles with ISIL near Mosul

Iraqi Kurds fight against ISILIraqi Kurdish fighters are exchanging heavy fire with ISIL fighters as they advance from two directions on a town held by the armed group just 13km east of the city of Mosul.

The town of Bashiqa has been surrounded by Kurdish Peshmerga forces for weeks.

Monday's push appears to be the most serious yet to drive the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL, also known as ISIS) from the area, which is to the northeast of Mosul, the group's last major urban bastion in the country.

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Two U.S. troops killed in Afghanistan

Two US troops killed in AfghanistanTwo U.S. troops were killed in Afghanistan on Thursday during a mission to clear Taliban fighters in Kunduz that also appears to have caused civilian casualties.

Four U.S. troops were also reported wounded in the fighting. The casualties underscore the danger U.S. service members still face in Afghanistan, despite the official end of U.S. combat operations.

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US personnel ‘targeting killer drones from Britain’

US Drones targeted from BritainUS military personnel serving at the UK’s RAF bases are helping to identify targets for drone strikes, according to their job specifications.

Human rights groups have seized on the descriptions of the roles as proof of the UK’s part in the covert US drone programme, which some critics claim is in breach of international law.

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UNHCR: 3,000 fleeing Iraqis seized by ISIL

Fleeing IraqisFighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have reportedly captured up to 3,000 fleeing villagers in northern Iraq, according to the UN refugee agency, or UNHCR.

In its daily report on events in Iraq, UNHCR said on Friday that 12 of the captives were thought to had been executed by ISIL, also known as ISIS.

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Scathing report in Britain slams Tony Blair over Iraq War

Blair must face war crimes trialThe Iraq war was mounted on flawed intelligence, was executed with “wholly inadequate” planning, and ended “a long way from success,” according to a damning report released Wednesday by the head of Britain’s Iraq War inquiry.

Retired civil servant John Chilcot, who oversaw the seven-year inquiry, said “the U.K. chose to join the invasion of Iraq before the peaceful options for disarmament had been exhausted. Military action at that time was not a last resort.”

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What Donald Rumsfeld Knew We Didn’t Know About Iraq

RumsfeldOn September 9, 2002, as the George W. Bush administration was launching its campaign to invade Iraq, a classified report landed on the desk of the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It came from Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld, and it carried an ominous note.

“Please take a look at this material as to what we don’t know about WMD,” Rumsfeld wrote to Air Force General Richard Myers. “It is big.”

The report was an inventory of what U.S. intelligence knew—or more importantly didn’t know—about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction. Its assessment was blunt: “We’ve struggled to estimate the unknowns. ... We range from 0% to about 75% knowledge on various aspects of their program.”

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