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Suicide bomb attack near Baghdad kills 17 and injures 33

Seventeen people have been killed and 33 others injured in a suicide bomb attack in Iraq, officials have said.

The bomber blew himself up in Madaen, around 15 miles south of Baghdad, near a lone of pro-government fighters waiting to be given their salaries.

The dead include 14 Sunni pro-government fighters and three soldiers - though medical officials say they expect that number to rise.


Battle continues to retake Sinjar from Islamic State

Credit: Reuters

Iraqi Kurdish fighters, backed by US-led coalition airstrikes against the Islamic State (IS) group, pushed their way today into the town of Sinjar, captured by the Sunni militants last summer.

Further to the east, near the border with Syria, Iraqi security forces battled the IS extremists as they tried to retake the strategic military airport of Tal Afar.

The battle for Sinjar and the surrounding area has become the latest focus in the campaign to take back territory lost to IS during the militants' summer blitz.

More: US led forces target Islamic State in 16 air strikes

US led forces target Islamic State in 16 air strikes

The US military has said that American led forces attacked Islamic State targets with 13 air strikes in Iraq and three in Syria, using fighter, bomber and other aircraft.

A view from Mount Sinjar. Credit: Reuters/Rodi Said

Four of the Iraq strikes were near Sinjar in northern Iraq, which destroyed Islamic State buildings, tactical units and vehicles. Other Iraqi cities targeted included Tal Afar, Ramadi, Mosul and Baiji, according to the Combined Joint Task Force.

The strikes in Syria focused around the contested city of Kobani near the Turkish border, it said in a statement.

Iraqi Kurdish fighters free 'vast area' of Mount Sinjar

Members of the Kurdish security forces take part in a patrol in Zumar, Nineveh province. Credit: Reuters

Kurdish peshmerga fighters have fought their way to Iraq's Sinjar mountain and freed hundreds of people trapped there by the Islamic State fighters, a Kurdish leader said late last night.

100 Islamic State fighters were killed in the assault, which was backed by US airstrikes.

The peshmerga have managed to reach the mountain. A vast area has been liberated. Now a corridor is open and hopefully the rest of the (Sinjar) region will be freed from Islamic State.

– Masrour Barzani

The Yazidi people have not been evacuated and the the toil on the civilian population is unclear. The words 'Property of the Islamic State' were sprayed on villages.

The Kurds have yet to take the actual town of Sinjar.


Anger over cost of £31 million al-Sweady Inquiry

The Defence Secretary and former leaders of the Army and Navy have all hit out at the cost of the al-Sweady Inquiry into alleged abuse of Iraqi detainees.

Sir Thayne Forbes, the retired judge who chaired the inquiry, said allegations of murder and torture made against British troops were the product of "deliberate lies, reckless speculation and ingrained hostility".

ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship reports.

Former head of Navy joins criticism of al-Sweady Inquiry

A former head of the Navy has issued a strong condemnation of the al-Sweady Inquiry.

Admiral Lord West, who headed the Navy from 2002-2006, told the House of Lords there seemed to be more interest in the human rights "of people who set out to kill us" than of British troops.

It does seem we are more willing now to concern ourselves with the human rights of people who set out to kill us - these men were actually intending to kill our soldiers and often it is people who are intending to kill civilians as well - than with the human rights of our own soldiers.

– Admiral Lord West

Former army chief: £30m 'wasted' on al-Sweady inquiry

The former head of the army has attacked Public Interest Lawyers for what he claims was £25-£30 million "wasted" on the al-Sweady Inquiry.

General Lord Richard Dannatt told ITV News Deputy Political Editor Chris Ship that it was "highly improbable" that there was any real basis for the claims made against British troops.

Lawyers say report raises 'serious criticisms' of UK troops

The lawyers' for nine Iraqi detainees who claimed they had been abused by British troops say the Al-Sweady inquiry has raised "very serious criticisms" of the behaviour of UK personnel.

Retired judge Sir Thaynes Forbes, who led the inquiry, said the main allegations of torture and unlawful killing were unfounded, although some mistreatment did occur.

In a press release following Sir Thayne's report, Public Interest Lawyers said:

[The report] found that on a number of occasions Geneva Convention provisions had been breached including the use of improper and proscribed interrogation techniques and that deficient medical treatment had been provided.

This important and worthwhile report upholds some of the more serious allegations against the British Army. Some allegations were withdrawn because of the work of the Inquiry, others have been dismissed. However, there are many very serious criticisms of the ill treatment and breaches of human rights of the Iraqi detainees.

– Public Interest Lawyers
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