Tuesday, January 16, 2018
News Roundup

U.S.-aided Kurd forces advance on Mosul dam

ALQOSH, Iraq — Seizing on the momentum of U.S. airstrikes in recent days, Kurdish forces moved to retake the strategic Mosul Dam on Sunday night, in their most significant challenge to the Sunni militants' advance in northern Iraq.

The U.S. assaults hit 10 armed vehicles, seven Humvees, two armored personnel carriers and one checkpoint belonging to fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, the U.S. Central Command said Sunday.

In the past two days, U.S. military forces have conducted 30 airstrikes across Iraq, officials said, with many of them focused around the dam, which militants captured after routing the Kurdish forces nearly two weeks ago. A statement from the National Security Council in Washington said the bombings were ordered by President Barack Obama to help the Iraqi forces "retake and establish control over the Mosul Dam."

Obama, the statement added, also officially informed Congress that he had authorized the airstrikes consistent with the War Powers Resolution.

As of late Sunday, Kurdish government officials said fighting around the dam complex, Iraq's largest, was continuing, despite early reports that the site had been retaken.

"We do not control the entire dam yet," Fuad Hussein, a spokesman for Massoud Barzani, the Iraqi Kurdish president, said in a televised statement.

By hammering the militants with warplanes and drones, the Americans have severely curtailed the freedom of movement enjoyed by ISIS fighters.

It remains to be seen how the Kurdish forces, known as the peshmerga, may fare if the air support is halted. Having lost significant ground during the ISIS fighters' advance this month, Kurdish forces have shown that they may not be able to go it alone.

Kurdish officials acknowledge that the airstrikes have been vital to recent success in halting the militants' onslaught. For their part, peshmerga officials have complained bitterly about inferior arms compared with those used by ISIS militants, who have claimed powerful U.S. munitions abandoned on the battlefield by the Iraqi military.

According to Kurdish officials, ISIS fighters appear to be falling back on several fronts, as peshmerga forces approach both the dam and the city of Mosul, the capital of Nineveh province. In their wake, they have left mines to slow the progress of Kurdish and Iraqi government forces.

Comments
Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nation’s first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Women speak out on abuse by Nassar; Nation’s first Sikh attorney general confirmed; more in U.S. news

Updated: 21 minutes ago
In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

In major shift, House bill would turn three USF universities into one

Separate accreditation has long been a point of pride and a stamp of independence for the St. Petersburg and Sarasota-Manatee branches of the University of South Florida.Graduates of those schools frame diplomas bearing the name of their own universi...
Updated: 27 minutes ago
Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

Video captures basketball game between kids, St. Petersburg officers

ST. PETERSBURG — Teamwork wins games, they say. And basketball can bridge gaps.That’s what makes the Facebook video of three St. Petersburg police officers playing a game of pickup in the street against three kids so compelling. The officers, who wer...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

Top Hillsborough teaching honor goes to a Lewis Elementary educator

TAMPA — The Hillsborough County Teacher of the Year is a self-described "busy, busy bee" who never tires of exploring new ways to help students learn, even if she has to be creative.At 56, Bonnie Bresnyan also is a mentor for the next generation of s...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

Casino boat operator in fatal fire had maintenance, safety issues before earlier blaze

PORT RICHEY — The casino boat operator whose shuttle caught fire Sunday, leaving one passenger dead, says it does not know what could have caused the blaze.But federal records show the company, now called Tropical Breeze Casino Cruz, had another boat...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Goodbye 70s. Hello freeze watch. Cold spell headed for Tampa Bay.

Did everyone enjoy the cool, sunny weather? Because it’s over now.It’s about to get very chilly, Tampa Bay. A rush of arctic air is headed our way, bringing another cold spell. Daytime temperatures will be in the low 60s on Wednesday, but overnight t...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Thanks Twitter: Fakesters pose as jackpot winner Shane Missler

Jackpot winner and Florida man Shane Missler wants to leave behind a legacy with his winnings.But he won’t be doing that by doling out cash to Twitter followers.PREVIOUS COVERAGE: Florida man, 20, claims $450M Mega Millions jackpotAn account cunningl...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

Hillsborough County firefighter gets the ax after investigators find ties to motorcycle gang

TAMPA — Hillsborough County officials fired a Fire Rescue medic Tuesday after an internal investigation concluded he had "unwavering loyalty" to the Outlaws Motorcycle Club — the state’s dominant biker gang.Clinton Neal Walker, 33, of Bradenton is th...
Updated: 1 hour ago

St. Pete officer suspended for month after pushing concert guard

ST. PETERSBURG — A police officer was suspended for a month after he pushed a security guard at a summer concert in Tampa, according to St. Petersburg police.It could have been worse: Chief Tony Holloway determined Officer Curtis Wright could have be...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to Rohingya repatriation timeline; Madsen charged in journalist Wall’s death; more in world news

Bangladesh, Myanmar agree to Rohingya repatriation timeline; Madsen charged in journalist Wall’s death; more in world news

South AsiaNations plan Rohingya returnBangladesh and Myanmar have agreed that they will try to complete within two years the repatriation of hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslim refugees who fled from violence in Myanmar, Bangladesh’s Foreign Min...
Updated: 2 hours ago