Battles over northern Iraq Turkmen towns kill dozens

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Iraqis get out of a vehicle in front of a checkpoint held by militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Syria (ISIS) jihadist group on June 16, 2014 in Iraq's second city of Mosul. (Photo: AFP - Karim Sahib)

Published Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Jihadist fighters attacked a northern Iraqi village inhabited by ethnic Turkmens but were repelled, police said on Tuesday, highlighting an upsurge of sectarian violence after stunning advances by extremist rebels.

The militants were beaten back from the village of Basheer, 15 kilometers (9 miles) south of the city of Kirkuk after an hour of clashes with local militia and police forces.

But dozens have been killed in fighting for another northern Turkmen village, deputy provincial council chief of Tal Afar, Nuriddin Qabalan, said.

Militants have seized most of Tal Afar in fighting that has killed dozens of civilians and combatants.

Security forces and civilian fighters still hold parts of Tal Afar, in Nineveh province, along a strategic corridor to Syria

The government of Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki is seeking to repel the militants who have seized several cities over the past week.

Fighters from the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and other militants have swept through towns in the Tigris valley north of Baghdad in recent days but appeared to have halted their advance outside the capital on Sunday as they tightened their grip on the north.

ISIS's advance may pose the biggest security crisis to Iraq since the worst of the sectarian bloodshed that followed the US-led invasion to oust Saddam Hussein in 2003.

Iraqi state news channel "Iraqiya" said that the army had killed two commanders from ISIS on Tuesday. It did not say where in Iraq.

(Reuters, AFP)


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