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The militants of the Al-Qaeda splinter group ISIS, also known as ISIL, managed to capture three new towns and two border crossings on Sunday, according to eyewitnesses, officials, and security sources.
“Army troops withdrew from Rawah, Anah and Rutba this morning and ISIS moved quickly to completely control these towns,” an unnamed military intelligence official told Reuters after the three had fallen.
The militants captured the three towns in Iraq’s western province of Anbar, Reuters reported. Later in the day, militants seized two border crossings – one with Jordan and one with Syria, Iraqi officials told AP.
Officials stationed at the Syrian border post of al-Waleed bolted after a group of militants spread out over two cars fired their guns into the air. An anonymous government official blamed “terrorists”, reported Reuters.
Iraqi troops have ceded control of four towns in the last two days.
On Saturday, the town of Qaim was captured by insurgents.
– Kerry: US ‘not responsible’ for crisis in Iraq, Libya(RT, June 22, 2014):
US Secretary of State John Kerry said Washington is “not responsible” for either the crisis in Libya, or violence in Iraq, where militants of the Al-Qaeda offshoot group ISIS are capturing cities one by one.
“The United States of America is not responsible for what happened in Libya, nor is it responsible for what is happening in Iraq today,” said Kerry at a press conference in Cairo after a short visit to Egypt for talks with its newly elected President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi as part of his Middle East tour.
Speaking on the fallout of the crisis in Iraq, where radical Sunni militants – an Al-Qaeda splinter group the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIS, also known as ISIL) – are capturing Iraqi cities one by one (link) and pushing away government forces from strategic posts, Kerry urged the republic’s authorities to overcome sectarian considerations and restrain the extremists.
“ISIL … it’s an ideology of violence and repression, is a threat not only to Iraq but the entire region… this is a critical moment when we must urge Iraq’s leaders to rise above sectarian considerations… and speak to all people,” Kerry said at a media conference.