US evacuates embassy in Libya

July 27, 2014 - 3:11:14 am

BAGHDAD: Gunmen in army uniforms have seized a senior local official and prominent member of a Sunni Islamist party from his Baghdad home, police and security sources said yesterday.

In a sign of the breakdown in security occurring in and around Baghdad, 15 people, including an entire Shia family, were found shot or beheaded, according to police and medical sources.

It was not clear if Riyadh Al Adhdah, who heads Baghdad’s Provincial Council and belongs to the Sunni Islamist Iraqi Islamic Party, had been kidnapped by militiamen, who often wear military outfits, or detained by the authorities.

Meanwhile, Islamic State fighters seized a Syrian army base in the northern province of Raqa, killing scores of troops and beheading some of them, a monitoring group said yesterday.

The takeover of the base of Division 17 came as the UN Commission of Inquiry on Syria said on Friday that IS fighters accused of atrocities would be added to a list of war crimes indictees.

In the two-day assault on the base in Raqa province, an IS bastion, the jihadists killed at least 85 soldiers, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.

More than 50 troops were summarily executed, 19 others were killed in a double suicide bombing and at least 16 more died in the assault launched early Thursday.

Hundreds of troops “withdrew on Friday to safe places — either to nearby villages whose residents oppose IS or to nearby Brigade 93 — but the fate of some 200 remains unknown,” Observatory head Rami Abdel Rahman said.

“Some of the executed troops were beheaded, and their bodies and severed heads put on display in Raqa city,” an IS stronghold, he said.

Video shot by jihadists and distributed on YouTube showed IS fighters apparently inside Division 17 living quarters burning a portrait of Syrian President Bashar 

Al Assad.

Islamic State militants also blew up a Shia shrine in the city of Mosul, an official and witnesses said yesterday.

Jihadists destroyed the Nabi Shiyt shrine in Mosul, the de facto Iraqi capital of the “caliphate” proclaimed last month by Islamic State (IS) leader Abu Bakr 

Al Baghdadi.

“IS militants stopped people from coming close, set explosives in and around the shrine and then detonated them as a crowd looked on,” one resident who witnessed the demolition said.

Seth is revered in Christianity, Islam and Judaism as the third son of Adam and Eve.

Sami Al Massoudi, the deputy head of the Shia endowment agency overseeing holy sites, confirmed that militants blew up the Nabi Shiyt shrine and added that they took some of the artefacts to an unknown location.

“These people follow this impossible religious doctrine according to which they must destroy or kill anything or anybody deviating from their views,” he said.

“That simply has nothing to do with Islam.” The latest destruction comes a day after IS militants completely levelled the reputed tomb of Jonah (Nabi Yunus) in Mosul, sparking an outcry among religious officials. agencies