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Rebels vow to take over Baghdad; US considers 'all options'

June 13, 2014 09:01 IST

Rebels vow to take over Baghdad; US considers 'all options'

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Sunni rebels from an Al Qaeda splinter group overran the Iraqi city of Tikrit on Wednesday and closed in on the biggest oil refinery in the country, making further gains in their rapid military advance against the Shi'ite-led government in Baghdad.

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Image: Fighters of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant stand guard at a checkpoint in the northern Iraq city of Mosul on Thursday
Photographs: Reuters

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Rebels vow to take over Baghdad; US considers 'all options'

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Having also taken two small towns north of Baghdad, Dhiluiya and Yathrib, the insurgents are in control of between 10 and 15 pct of Iraqi territory, excluding Kurdistan, and have led many Iraqis to fear they have the capital, Baghdad, in their sights.

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Image: Mourners grieve near the coffin of a victim killed by a suicide bomber in Baghdad on Thursday
Photographs: Reuters

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Rebels vow to take over Baghdad; US considers 'all options'

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Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama said on Thursday his government is looking at "all options", including military action, to help Iraq fight Islamist militants.

But the White House also insisted it had no intention of sending ground troops, BBC reported.

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Image: A burnt vehicle belonging to Iraqi security forces is pictured on Thursday at a checkpoint in east Mosul which was taken over by ISIL fighters
Photographs: Reuters

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Rebels vow to take over Baghdad; US considers 'all options'

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The ISIL fighters from vowed to march on Baghdad, as Iraq's parliament failed to agree the declaration of a nationwide state of emergency, on Thursday.

"We will march toward Baghdad because we have an account to settle there," said the armed group's spokesman on Thursday in an audio recording posted on the internet, Al Jazeera reported.

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Image: Families fleeing the violence in Mosul arrive at a checkpoint on the outskirts of Erbil on Thursday
Photographs: Reuters

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Rebels vow to take over Baghdad; US considers 'all options'

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In a sign of ISIL's confidence, the spokesman even boasted that its fighters would take the southern Shia cities of Karbala and Najaf, which hold two of the holiest shrines for Shia Muslims, following the fall of cities in the Sunni north.

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Image: ISIL fighters stand guard at a checkpoint in Mosul on Wednesday
Photographs: Reuters

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Rebels vow to take over Baghdad; US considers 'all options'

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Unconfirmed reports on Thursday said Iraqi forces had launched air strikes on Mosul and Tikrit targeting the militants.

The United Nations Security Council said on Thursday it unanimously supported Iraq's government and people in their "fight against terrorism".

Earlier it said the humanitarian situation around Mosul, from where up to 500,000 people have fled, was "dire and... worsening by the moment", BBC reported.


Image: Burnt vehicles belonging to Iraqi security forces are pictured at a checkpoint in east Mosul two days after ISIL fighters took over the city
Photographs: Reuters

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