Islamic Militants Just 30 Miles from Baghdad

Wednesday, 18 Jun 2014 11:39 AM

By Melanie Batley

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Islamic militants have advanced to within just 30 miles of Baghdad, capping off a week of violence that has seen insurgents take over some of Iraq's major cities.

The latest round of fighting is the closest the extremists have come to Baghdad, and they continue to pledge that they will march on the country's capital and the southern Shiite holy city of Karbala, USA Today reported.

Security forces and tribal fighters, however, managed to successfully push back against the attack by ISIS forces in the city of Baqouba on Tuesday.

The clash resulted in the deaths of several dozen Sunni prisoners during a failed attempt by the militants to rescue them. It is still unclear whether the militants or the Iraqi security forces were responsible for the killings, the newspaper reported.

Residents also took up arms against the insurgents to try to halt their advances.

"When the attack started I took my weapon as many people in my area came out and shot the insurgents," Nameer al Baiati, a professor at Diyala University, told USA Today. "There were around 100 fighters most of them shooting with heavy weapons."

Fighting has stopped, according to locals, but Iraqi security forces have killed or wounded dozens of ISIS forces just outside the city since the attack.

News of ISIS gaining ground in its campaign to capture Baghdad comes as President Barack Obama moves 275 troops, who will be "armed for combat," to protect the U.S. personnel and the American.

Arizona GOP Sen. John McCain said Tuesday that after speaking with officials he was confident the insurgents would not be successful in capturing Baghdad.

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