(Debka) Al-Qaida Iraq (IS) and its Sunni tribal allies are advancing on the al-Muthanna military air base at Baghdad international airport, according to the latest intelligence dated Friday, July 4.
Three columns, of 1,000-1,500 fighters each, are descending on their target from the north and the west in US-made armored Humvees and APCs taken booty from the Iraqi army.
The air field is situated 16 km west of central Baghdad. The Islamist State's military planners, many of whom were officers in Saddam Hussein’s army - the president ousted in 2003 by the US invasion of Iraq – have calculated that there was no need at this stage to conquer the Iraqi capital.
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Seizing the military air field will afford them control of Baghdad air space and provide a forward base for bombing forays in different quarters of the city. The Islamists count on support in the Sunni suburbs of West Baghad.