BAGHDAD, June 14 (Xinhua) -- Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al- Maliki vowed to defeat the insurgent groups, as the troops and volunteers are gathering in the city of Samarra in north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad to fight militant groups who are trying to march toward Baghdad.
"Samarra is not the last line, but it will be a gathering point and a launch pad to clear all areas," Maliki said in a speech broadcast on Saturday during his visit to Samarra late Friday.
"Hundreds of thousands of volunteers are with you. It is only hours to the volunteers to arrive to support the security forces in their war against the gangs of Daash (Arabic first letters of the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant ISIL)," Maliki said in a meeting with military officers and provincial officials.
On Friday, Maliki paid a surprise visit to the embattled city of Samarra, some 120 km north of Baghdad, to discuss security measures, as well as a counter-attack plans to retake Salahudin's provincial capital city of Tikrit, some 170 km north of Baghdad, which was seized by extremists militant groups on Wednesday.
Thousands of volunteers have responded to a call by the country 's most revered Shiite cleric in Iraq Grand Ayatollah Ali al- Sistani, who called Friday on Iraqis to take up arms to defend their country against insurgent groups who took control of large parts of the country.
"The situations in Iraq are very serious, entailing those who are able to volunteer to take up arms to defense their homeland," Sistani said in his order read on the weekly Friday prayers.
Early on Saturday, hundreds have gathered in Uwynat area, some 15 km south of Tikrit, preparing for a major attack to retake the provincial capital city, according to a provincial police source.
The Sunni-dominated city of Tikrit, which is the hometown of former president Saddam Hussein, has been in the hands of the gunmen since Wednesday.
The security deterioration in Iraq started last week when bloody clashes broke out between the Iraqi security forces and hundreds of gunmen who took control of several neighborhoods in western part of Mosul and expanded later to other areas and provinces after the Iraqi security forces withdrew from the city.
LOS ANGELES, June 13 (Xinhua) -- The United States made a mistake to send troops to Iraq in 2003, and it is not worthwhile for Americans to fight in Iraq again this time, a U.S. expert said Friday.Full story
WASHINGTON, June 13 (Xinhua) -- U.S. President Barack Obama said on Friday that he will not be sending back U.S. troops to help the Iraqi forces fight Islamist militants who are making rapid gains on the ground.Full story