Anbar, Iraq, 23 Sha’ban 1435/21 June 2014 (MINA) – Armed militants led by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant, or ISIL, took control of Al-Qaim town in the west of Anbar province in Iraq on Saturday, security sources said.
The town fell to militant groups after security forces withdrew to the Syrian border following fierce clashes, sources said.
The ISIL militants are said to have seized a military barrack, several checkpoints and military vehicles along with ammunition in the town.
Ferhan Fetihan, district governor of the border town, said Staff Colonel Majid al-Fehdavi was killed and three soldiers wounded in the clashes between the army and the insurgents.
Fetihan said the clashes were continuing in several locations, Anadolu Agency quoted by Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA) as reporting.
ISIL, which already controls parts of Syria, has extended its reach into Iraq since June 10, when it seized Iraq’s second-largest city Mosul and soon afterwards took near-complete control of the cities of Tikrit and Tal Afar.
Meanwhile, U.S. President Barack Obama announced Thursday that the U.S. would send up to 300 military advisers to Iraq to bolster Iraqi security forces in their effort to put down the militant group.
In Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in the country’s north, army reportedly withdrew from the regions where fierce clashes took place with ISIL-led militants.
Jabbar Yawer, secretary-general of Peshmerga Ministry, told Anadolu Agency that Peshmerga forces are fighting a battle with the militants on their own after the army troops fled Salahuddin, Nineveh and Kirkuk.
Peshmerga forces are currently clashing with the ISIL militants in as-Sadiye and Jalula districts of Diyala province, said Yaver, claiming that the district of es-Sadiye was still under ISIL’s control.
Iraq has seen a marked increase in sectarian violence between Sunni and Shi’a Muslims in recent months, which the Iraqi government blames on ISIL. (T/P09/E01)
Mi’raj Islamic News Agency (MINA)