Egypt Independent: World-Main news en Tripoli re-deploys troops away from oil ports to fight Islamic State <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Libya&#39;s Tripoli-based government, which leads one of two warring factions, has ordered its forces to withdraw from bases near major oil ports to fight Islamic State militants in the central city of Sirte, a Tripoli lawmaker said on Saturday.</p><p>The withdrawal may at some point result in the re-opening of ports of Es Sider and Ras Lanuf, both of which closed in December as both sides battled for their control.</p><p>Militants loyal to Islamic State have expanded in Libya, exploiting the security vacuum left by fighting between different parties since an uprising toppled Muammar Gaddafi in 2011.</p><p>&quot;The withdrawal of (the) forces is a tactical withdrawal to confront the organisation of the Islamic State ... in Sirte,&quot; Belqasem Debbrez, deputy head of the defence committee in the Tripoli-based assembly, told Reuters.</p><p>Libya is divided into two groups, both of which have their own government, parliament and troops, vying for control of territory and oil facilities. One side operates out of Tripoli, and the other, internationally recognised administration is based in the east.</p><p>Earlier this year, militants attacked forces loyal to Tripoli in Sirte, a major central city, and seized governments buildings, the university and a radio station.</p><p>The presence of Islamic State militants in Libya came to global attention in February when the group beheaded 21 Egyptians Christians, drawing international condemnation.</p><p>On Friday, a spokesman for forces loyal to the recognised government had said they had observed the pullout of the rival force from the oil ports.</p><p>The forces reporting to the eastern government would stay in their positions, Ali al-Hassi had said.</p><p><iframe id="iagdtd_frame" src="" style="position: absolute; width: 1px; height: 1px; left: -9999px;"></iframe></p> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 17:39:00 +0000 Reuters 2446948 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/01/17/499612/oil_prices_3.jpg Iraq officer: 'Major sacrifices' required to retake Tikrit <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Retaking the city of Tikrit, where jihadists have rigged streets and buildings with explosives, will require &quot;major sacrifices&quot; on the part of Iraqi forces, a senior intelligence officer said Saturday.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Iraqi forces and allied paramilitaries have been fighting to retake the city since March 2, but halted ground operations for more than a week in what officials described as a bid to curb human and material losses before pushing forward again.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>&quot;The task of liberating Tikrit requires major sacrifices and street fighting, and our forces are ready for these sacrifices,&quot; the officer told AFP on condition of anonymity, indicating that the pause in operations only deferred the inevitable cost.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group has planted bombs in streets, rigged houses and other buildings with explosives, and built defensive works including berms and tunnels, also booby-trapped, the officer said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>IS spearheaded a sweeping offensive last June that overran much of Iraq&#39;s Sunni Arab heartland, and the operation to retake Tikrit is Baghdad&#39;s largest to date against the militants.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>A US-led anti-IS coalition began carrying out air strikes in the Tikrit area on Wednesday, a move that increased available firepower in the air but has at least temporarily curbed it on the ground.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Key Iranian-backed militia forces that have done much of the heavy lifting in the drive to push IS back suspended offensive operations after the strikes began, commanders told AFP.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The Pentagon conditioned its intervention on an enhanced role for regular government forces and Friday hailed the withdrawal of &quot;those Shiite militias who are linked to, infiltrated by, (or) otherwise under the influence of Iran&quot;.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Iran had been the most prominent foreign partner in the operation, but Baghdad eventually requested the US-led strikes after the drive stalled.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The battle has continued in the absence of the militia forces, with an army colonel saying there was heavy fighting on the southern outskirts of the city.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>The advance was slow due to bombs planted by IS but security forces have gained some ground, the colonel said.</div> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 15:00:00 +0000 AFP 2446944 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/28/501010/baghdad_03-28-15.jpg Monitor: Syria's Idlib city falls to Qaeda affiliate, allies <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><div>Al-Qaeda&#39;s Syrian affiliate and its allies seized on Saturday the city of Idlib, the second provincial capital to be lost by the government, the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights said.</div><div>&nbsp;</div><div>Al-Nusra Front, the official Syrian affiliate of Al-Qaeda, also announced on its Twitter accounts that it had captured the city, posting photos of government buildings in central Idlib now under its control.</div><p><iframe id="iagdtd_frame" src="" style="position: absolute; width: 1px; height: 1px; left: -9999px;"></iframe></p> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:25:00 +0000 AFP 2446940 at sites/default/files/photo/2015/03/24/501010/is_03-24-15.jpg Boko Haram gunmen kill 6 voters in northeast Nigeria <img src="" alt="" title="" class="imagecache imagecache-media_thumbnail" width="152" height="114" /><p>Islamist Boko Haram insurgents launched two deadly attacks on voters in northeast Nigeria on Saturday, police and a security source said, killing six people in an election in which insecurity is a major issue.</p><p>One attack was in Ngalda, Yobe state, state police commissioner Danladi Marcus told Reuters by telephone. The other was in an ethnic Fulani village called Woru in Gombe state, a security source said.</p><p>In both attacks gunmen opened fire on voters as they trekked to their polling stations, killing three in each.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><iframe id="iagdtd_frame" src="" style="position: absolute; width: 1px; height: 1px; left: -9999px;"></iframe></p> Sat, 28 Mar 2015 14:20:00 +0000 Reuters 2446939 at sites/default/files/photo/2014/11/23/499612/boko_haram.jpg