ALSUMARIA reports while collecting truffles in Anhu (Anbar Province), 1 civilian was killed by a bombing. For those wondering about the sudden focus on truffle collectors in Iraq (and Syria) in the last weeks, it's truffle season. Reporting today on the recent killing of 5 fishermen in Najaf, Mina Aldroubi (THE NATIONAL) notes the killings "came just a week after 19 people were abducted while truffle-hunting in the Al Nukhayb desert between the provinces of Najaf and Anbar. Seven were killed, nine have been released and three are still missing. The victims' funerals were held on Wednesday in the holy city of Najaf, with their coffins covered in the national flag." Shelly Kittleson (AL-MONITOR) adds:
Across the rocky and grass-speckled desert of western Anbar, it is white truffle season. Locals can be seen scanning the ground in search of truffles, along the road that stretches from Haditha to Qaim and then the Syrian border. Yet, in recent weeks, a rash of kidnappings and killings of truffle hunters has marred this seasonal tradition and raised concerns of Islamic State (IS) sleeper cells.On Feb. 18, 12 men from Anbar, Karbala and Najaf were kidnapped while picking truffles in the al-Nukhaib district of southern Anbar province. The next day, six bodies were reportedly found in same area, which is close to the Iraqi border with Saudi Arabia.
Salahuddin province has also seen truffle hunters kidnapped or killed. Earlier this month, three brothers were kidnapped in the Makhoul Mountains. They were found dead, handcuffed and with bullet wounds, Feb. 8.
[. . .]
A security source in western Anbar told Al-Monitor Feb. 16 that several people, including some of his friends, had been kidnapped near Rawa the previous day while looking for truffles.
The family of one of the kidnapped men had received a ransom demand of $30,000, which was later lowered to $20,000, according to the source. He speculated that the kidnappings could have been orchestrated by criminal gangs using IS as a cover.
Around 9,000 families in 700 different places of Baghdad live in government-owned properties. They are under the threat of eviction by force upon a recent decree from the Iraqi government.
Shahla Tahir who has been living in a government owned apartment in Qahira neighborhood with her husband and two children since 2003, are affected by and afraid of the government plan to evict them as they have been told to evacuate.
As some of us are joined by others -- I never stood for this crap -- the AMERICAN IDOL reject is on stage with Geezer Rock performing non-Oscar nominated songs. Oh, this is going to be an awful ceremony. Right from the start, they're not honoring film. Can someone get these fat and old people and their attempt at Karaoke off the stage already?