Iraq forces retake town north of Baghdad

Iraq forces retake town north of Baghdad
Sat Jun 14, 2014 18:02:04

Iraqi security troops have retaken a town north of Baghdad from the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) militants as they prepare to carry out a major counter-offensive against the terrorist group in north of the capital.

Troops and tribal militia found the burned bodies of 12 policemen as they recaptured Ishaqi in Salaheddin province from terrorists, a police colonel and a doctor said.

Troops also retook the nearby Muatassam area of Salaheddin, the police colonel said.

On Friday night, police and residents expelled militants from another town in the province, Dhuluiyah, where they had set up checkpoints, witnesses said.

Security forces have also held fast in the Muqdadiyah area of Diyala province, preventing militants from taking the town in heavy fighting, a police colonel said.

Meanwhile, Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki visited Samarra on Saturday.

"Samarra will not be the last line of defense, but a gathering point and launch pad," al-Maliki said during an address to army officers in the city that was broadcast by Iraqi TV, adding, "Within the coming hours, all the volunteers will arrive to support the security forces.... This is the beginning of the end for them.”

Earlier, al-Maliki said the cabinet had granted him unlimited powers to fight the ISIL militants, noting that authorities will arm citizens in Nineveh and Salaheddin provinces to fight the militants.

Over the past days, Iraqi armed forces have been engaged in fierce clashes with the terrorists, who have threatened to take their acts of violence to other Iraqi cities, including the capital, Baghdad.

Meanwhile, hundreds of Iraqi volunteers are now flocking to regions in Baghdad to join the battle against the militants.


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