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Airstrikes slam into Mosul, city held by Islamic State militants

Last modified: 7/6/2014 11:15:01 PM
Warplanes carried out multiple bombing raids in the northern Iraqi city of Mosul yesterday, a day after the leader of a powerful al-Qaida-inspired militant group appeared online in a video from the city’s main mosque.

Residents of the city, reached by phone, said airstrikes shook the city at least three times yesterday, starting at dawn. It remains unclear what force carried out the airstrikes. The U.S. Defense Department said it had no knowledge of the airstrikes and that U.S. forces were not involved. An Iraqi government official in Baghdad said he had no information about any airstrikes near Mosul.

On Friday, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State, which declared a revival of the medieval Islamic caliphate in Iraq and Syria last week, delivered a sermon to worshipers from Mosul’s Great Mosque.

The video, which appeared online Saturday, marked the first time that the elusive extremist leader has appeared in a video.

The fact that al-Baghdadi ventured into public at all appeared to underscore just how solidly the group controls Mosul, which it seized June 9 in a stunning offensive that simultaneously instigated the collapse of an entire regional division of the Iraqi army.

At least one of the strikes yesterday tore through a cluster of homes in the village of Rashidiya, on Mosul’s northern outskirts, one local resident claimed, charging that the dead were civilians.

“There were four houses destroyed. Two families were killed,” said a 75-year-old retired military officer who lives in the area.

Hamid al-Mutlaq, a Sunni member of parliament who until recently served on the security and defense committee, confirmed that airstrikes had destroyed several homes in Rashidiya and in the Mosul neighborhood of Tamooz. A local medical official told the Associated Press that at least seven people were killed in the strikes, and 30 were wounded.


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