Tags: Iraq | ISIS/Islamic State | Syria | Iraq | Islamic State | airstrike | Alaa al-Afri

Report: Iraq Lying About Islamic State Defeats

By    |   Thursday, 14 May 2015 05:42 PM

A new report questions why Iraq has been spreading false news about its war with the Islamic State (ISIS).

The Daily Beast writes about reports this week that came from the Iraqi government, which said the No. 2 man in the terror organization — Alaa al-Afri — was killed in a coalition airstrike.

Several news organizations ran the story, but The Daily Beast points out that it may not be true.

The Iraqi Defense Ministry said al-Afri — who reportedly has taken command of ISIS in the wake of reports that claim the group's leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, was severely wounded in an airstrike — was killed in a strike that targeted a mosque in Tal Afar, Iraq.

"The ministry released a video of what it called the Iraqi strike that killed al-Afri," The Daily Beast writes. "The problem: The video was actually May 4 video of a coalition strike in Mosul, 40 miles away.

"And given that al-Afri spoke at a mosque in Mosul Friday, it is impossible that the released video could have been of the No. 2 commander's death."

It's unclear why Iraq falsely reported the news, which could actually be true — but if al-Afri was killed, U.S. officials said there was not a coalition airstrike on the Tal Afar mosque.

"We are aware of media reports that the second-in-command of [ISIS] has been killed in a Coalition airstrike in Tal Afar and have no information to corroborate these claims," U.S. Central Command said in a statement, according to The Daily Beast. "However, we can confirm that Coalition aircraft did not strike a mosque as some of the press reporting has alleged."

Perhaps Iraq is trying to provide hope and motivation to its troops that are trying to retake their country from the terror group whose base is in Raqqa, Syria.

"It's a boost the Iraqi could use. In recent weeks, the Iraqi military had hoped to build on the momentum from ISIS' loss of the central city of Tikrit," writes The Daily Beast.

"Instead, it has instead sustained losses. The Iraqi forces have lost much of the central city of Baiji as well as control of the refinery."

ISIS has spread its message largely through social media and propaganda videos. The U.S. government is now asking the news media to stop using old footage of ISIS fighters because it says the group is no longer as strong as it once was, and the footage is a method of propaganda.

"We are urging broadcasters to avoid using the familiar B-roll that we've all seen before, file footage of [ISIS] convoys operating in broad daylight, moving in large formations with guns out, looking to wreak havoc," said Emily Horne, spokeswoman for retired Gen. John Allen.

Efforts are also underway to curb ISIS' social media presence by shutting down accounts it uses, but one politician said it won't be easy.

"We are making some progress as far as slowing it down," Rep. Peter King said Monday. "For instance, Facebook and Twitter will take it down when it reaches [an] incitement of violence level.

"But again, it's already been up a while. And mainly what we have to do is find a way to get it at the source, to get it, and that will be tough."

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A new report questions why Iraq has been spreading false news about its war with the Islamic State (ISIS).
Iraq, Islamic State, airstrike, Alaa al-Afri
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2015-42-14
Thursday, 14 May 2015 05:42 PM
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