A massive suicide bomb attack on a police base near the city of Samarra, Iraq, has killed at least 40 police officers in another blow to plans for retaking the fallen city of Ramadi from the Islamic State.
Furthermore, the attack was perpetrated with what NHK News describes as “an armored personnel carrier packed with explosives,” triggering a “giant explosion” after militants drove it through the gates of the base. It was likely an American armored vehicle, seized by ISIS from retreating Iraqi forces.
“ISIS has in the past year seized a formidable arsenal of military vehicles, weapons and ammunition from retreating Iraqis,” notes the AFP news service. The assault on Ramadi began with a wave of truck bombs, and ISIS “has since unleashed vehicle-borne suicide bombs on a daily basis.” The Iraqi government says these bombings have been a major factor in its inability to mount a promised operation to swiftly retake Ramadi.
Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi is in Paris to discuss his plans for recovering Ramadi with the U.S.-led anti-ISIS coalition. The conference was reportedly not cheered by news of the latest massive bombing attack.
AFP quotes British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond refusing to describe the war against ISIS as a failure, but not praising the efforts, either. They are also very different from the Obama administration’s confident predictions at the outset of what it refused to classify as a “war.”
“I have no doubt that this will be a generational struggle,” said Hammond, who went on to thumbnail a five-year timetable for victory. That does not meet any reasonable definition of a generational struggle, but he added that it will “take a long, long, long time to challenge and overcome the underlying ideology that supports” the terror state, so maybe he means five years to more or less push the Islamic State out of Iraq, followed by a generational battle to stamp out their ideology.
ISIS is also still on the march in Syria, where AFP reports militants have “advanced towards Marea, a village located between the Syrian city of Aleppo and the Turkish border,” carried out another suicide bombing in northeast Syria, and even “ousted government forces from areas in the central province of Homs.”
AFP quotes UNICEF, the United Nations charity for children, announcing that “aid agencies are preparing to launch a fundraising appeal for half a billion dollars for the crisis in Iraq.”