Balad, Iraq

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Balad
بلد
city
مرقد السيد سبع الدجيل.jpg
Balad is located in Iraq
Balad
Balad
Coordinates: 34°0′59″N 44°08′43″E / 34.01639°N 44.14528°E / 34.01639; 44.14528Coordinates: 34°0′59″N 44°08′43″E / 34.01639°N 44.14528°E / 34.01639; 44.14528
Country Iraq
Governorate Saladin
District Balad
Government
 • Mayor Amir Abdul Hadi[2][3]
Elevation 52 m (171 ft)
Population 2015
 • Total 80,000[1]

Balad[4] (Arabic: بلد‎‎), also transliterated Beled or Belad, is a city in the Salah ad Din Governorate, Iraq, 80 kilometres (50 mi) north of the national capital, Baghdad. It is the capital of Balad District. Located between the Sunni towns of Al Dhuluiya, Yathrib and Ishaqi, Balad has a vast Shiite majority and a shrinking Sunni minority.

In the later months of 2014 the city was besieged by Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant forces, which was easily repelled by the Shia citizens of the city and their Shia state security forces[5]

During the Iraq War

Balad Air Base following the withdraw of U.S. forces

During the Iraq War Balad was, in 2006, the site of sectarian violence involving Sunni and Shi'ite militias.[6][7]

In 2007 the mayor, Amir Abdul Hadi, escaped an assassination attempt.[8]

Military installations

The largest military air base in Iraq, formerly LSA Anaconda, Balad Air Base, or Al-Bakir Air Base, is located within the municipality of Yethrib near Balad. As of early 2007 the base was the central hub for airlift and US Air Force operations in Iraq; it was also a major transshipment point for US Army supply convoys.

On the outskirts of Balad proper is a tiny forward operating base called Balad Joint Coordination Center (formerly FOB Paliwoda). Over the years, FOB Paliwoda had been occupied by 1st Battalion, 8th Infantry, 3rd Brigade Combat Team, and 3rd Squadron 4th US Cavalry in an effort to create a joint effort between coalition and local forces.

2016 attack

On the 7th July 2016, militants from the Islamic State attacked the tomb of Muhammad ibn Ali al-Hadi, the son of Ali al-Hadi and the brother of Hasan al-Askari. According to Reuters citing Iraqi security forces, "at least 20 people were killed and 50 others wounded on Thursday evening in an attack on a Shi'ite mausoleum north of Baghdad". A suicide car bomb blew up at the external gate of the mausoleum, allowing several gunmen to storm the site and start shooting at pilgrims on a visit on the occasion of the Eid al-Fitr festival.[9]

References

  1. ^ التعداد السكاني لقضاء بلد بحسب أحصاء عام 2015
  2. ^ Sabrina Tavernise, Iraq Removes Leaders of Special Police, New York Times, October 18, 2006.
  3. ^ Islamic State executes Shi'ite militia fighters north of Baghdad Reuters, Dec. 7, 2014.
  4. ^ Gazetteer of Iraq (Defense Mapping Agency, 1990), p. 86.
  5. ^ Iraq's Balad braced for battle with ISIL: Residents told to stock up on food and fuel as government forces confront group over control of strategic areas, Al Jazeera, Dec. 10, 2014.
  6. ^ Ellen Knickmeyer, "In Balad, Age-Old Ties Were 'Destroyed in a Second'", Washington Post, Monday, October 23, 2006.
  7. ^ Sabrina Tavernise, Iraq Removes Leaders of Special Police, New York Times, October 18, 2006.
  8. ^ Balad mayor escapes assassination, National Iraqi News Agency, April 3, 2007.
  9. ^ At least 35 killed in attack on Shi'ite mausoleum north of Baghdad, Reuters, July 8, 2016.

External links

  • Iraq Image - Balad Satellite Observation
  • Balad from Globalsecurity.org
  • Biggest Base in Iraq Has Small-Town Feel
  • Air Force in Iraq
  • 1st Infantry Division News
  • Diary of an insurgent in retreat


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