Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.

Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.


Islamic gunmen push into Iraq Sunni heartland

12 June 2014, 12:17

Baghdad - Al-Qaeda-inspired militants have pushed deeper into Iraq's Sunni heartland, conquering cities and towns that had largely been calm before the Americans withdrew less than three years ago and spreading fear that Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki's government will be unable to stop the Islamic extremists as they press closer to Baghdad.

Fighters from the militant group known as the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant on Wednesday took Saddam Hussein's hometown of Tikrit, as soldiers and security forces abandoned their posts and yielded ground once controlled by US forces.

Only a day earlier, they seized control of much of Iraq's second-largest city, Mosul, sending an estimated half a million people fleeing from their homes. As in Tikrit, the Sunni militants were able to move in after police and military forces melted away after relatively brief clashes.

The group, which has seized wide swaths of territory, aims to create an Islamic emirate spanning both sides of the Iraq-Syria border.

The capture of Mosul - along with the fall of Tikrit and the militants' earlier seizure of the city of Fallujah and parts of Ramadi, the capital of western Anbar province - have undone hard-fought gains against insurgents in the years following the 2003 invasion by US-led forces.


The White House said the security situation has deteriorated over the past 24 hours and that the US was "deeply concerned" about ISIL's continued aggression.

There were no reliable estimates of casualties or the number of insurgents involved, though several hundred gunmen were in Tikrit and more were fighting on the outskirts, said Mizhar Fleih, the deputy head of the municipal council of nearby Samarra. An even larger number of militants likely would have been needed to secure Mosul, a much bigger city.

The militants gained entry to the Turkish consulate in Mosul and held captive 48 people, including diplomats, police, consulate employees and three children, according to an official in the office of Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan.

Turkish officials believe the hostages are safe, he said, speaking on condition of anonymity because he was not authorised to comment to reporters on the sensitive issue.

The White House said in a statement that Vice President Joe Biden spoke with Erdogan and called for the safe and immediate return of the Turkish personnel and family members. Turkish state-run Anadolu Agency reported that Erdogan convened an emergency Cabinet meeting.

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon strongly condemned the abductions and the seizure of Iraqi territory by the militants, urging "the international community to unite in showing solidarity with Iraq as it confronts this serious security challenge".

"Terrorism must not be allowed to succeed in undoing the path toward democracy in Iraq," Ban said.

Baghdad assault

While the militants have advanced southward, Baghdad did not appear to be in imminent danger from a similar assault, although Sunni insurgents have stepped up car bombings and suicide attacks in the capital in recent months.

So far, ISIL fighters have stuck to the Sunni heartland and former Sunni insurgent strongholds where people are already alienated by the Shi'ite-led government over allegations of discrimination and mistreatment. The militants also would likely meet far stronger resistance, not only from government forces but by Shi'ite militias if they tried to advance on the capital.

Mosul, the capital of Ninevah province, and the neighbouring Sunni-dominated province of Anbar share a long and porous border with Syria, where the Islamic State is also active.

- AP

Tags iraq security

Read News24’s Comments Policy

Comment on this story
Comments have been closed for this article.

Read more from our Users

Nigeria @ 56: Words to my green f...

A leader’s job is not to dictate, but rather to be respected, admired and be a trustee, of the land we love, with so much potential, a land which should be freer than free. Its still a long way to fufilling our destiny! Read more...

Submitted by
Isaac Asabor263
Recession: An opportunity for Nig...

The recession should be seen as an opportunity for the country’s promotion as long as we all collectively conduct ourselves in a patriotic manner, writes Isaac Asabor.  Read more...

Submitted by
Black and White

We want to imitate the whites in everything because we are ignorant of our inherent originality and content. We spend all our Naira to acquire his inventions because we so oblivious of our natural endowments that we allow him have it for free. Read more...

Submitted by
Nate Nat
Adamawa State University Mubi: A ...

ADSU integrity forum has accused the Sunday Joshua Wugira, a lawyer, of adopting unorthodox tactics by abusing his privilege by attacking the integrity of ADSU Vice Chancellor Dr. Moses Zira Zaruwa, writes a News24 reader. Read more...

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
My Country Nigeria (Part One)

Poetry by Abdulsalam Jubril.

Submitted by
Abdulsalam Jubril
Recession, dearth in leadership a...

Every leader has the opportunity to become great and making himself immortal in the lives and hearts of people for generations to come. Will Mr. President seize this opportunity?, questions Abdulsalam Jubril. Read more...