The violent situation in Iraq has been escalating over the last several days. The Al Qaeda–inspired group seized Fallujah in January, and has taken at least partial control of well over a dozen cities in northern Syria and Iraq.
The World Federation also learned that the Iraqi Army surrounded the Holy Shrine of Imam Askari (as) last week to avoid a repeat attack of the Holy Shrine. Armed terrorists stormed into the city of Samarra to attack the Shrine again. At least 18 people were killed and dozens injured during sporadic fighting in the Iraqi city of Samarra after armed men took control of several districts, military sources have said.
In the last two days, the ISIS has taken Tikrit and Mosul, Iraq's second-largest city, in just the past two days. It is now estimated that more than 500,000 people fled Mosul after the attack. Many feel that Iraq's military may not be able to fend off the insurgents, who are quickly advancing toward Baghdad.
After the seizure of these two cities, fears are rising that the country may be returning to high levels of Sunni-Shiite sectarian violence that has been witnessed in the past.
Sadly, The World Federation has also learned of a situation where an innocent family became victims in the violence. A young boy was butchered in the outskirts of Samarra. The family was in Samarra when it was relatively quiet, and the situation became dangerous quickly. Thinking it was safe; they attempted to leave but got caught in the crossfire. This is only one example of the needless atrocities occurring in the country.
Violence in Iraq is running at its highest levels since 2006/2007. More than 900 people were killed last month, according to figures separately compiled by the United Nations and the government. Over 4,000 have been killed so far this year, according to AFP news agency figures based on security and medical sources.
The World Federation asks that during these holy nights to please remember the innocent people in Iraq and in other countries where individuals are suffering needlessly due to war and violence. We pray for the safety of these men, women and children and ask for an end to the terror that they are facing.