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Militants seize part of embattled city in northern Iraq

English.news.cn   2014-06-16 16:18:22
• Insurgent groups took control of part of the city of Tal Afar in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh.
• City defenders withdrew from neighborhoods due to shortage of ammunition and weapons, source said.
• Dozens of families have left their homes by the battles in the streets and the mortar shelling.

BAGHDAD, June 16 (Xinhua) -- Insurgent groups took control of part of the city of Tal Afar in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, as families begun leaving their homes to safer areas outside the city, a security source and an official said on Monday.

Insurgent groups, including militants linked to the Islamic State in Iraq and Levant, an al-Qaida offshoot, have captured several neighborhoods in the city which located some 70 km west of Nineveh's provincial capital Mosul after fierce clashes with Iraqi security forces and volunteers from the residents, a local security source told Xinhua on condition of anonymity.

The militant groups have been fighting for several days to enter the ethnically and sectarian mixed city from three directions, but they were faced by the security forces with hundreds of local tribal fighters. The defenders of the city withdrew from some neighborhoods because of shortage of ammunition and weapons, the source said.

Mohammed Abdul Qader, head of the city council, told Xinhua that dozens of families have left their homes by the battles in the streets and the mortar shelling. Most of the displaced families have resorted to the city of Sinjar, some 60 km west of Tal Afar.

He said that the main hospital is suffering acute shortage in medicine and other equipments.

The Sunni-majority province of Nineveh and its capital Mosul, some 400 km north of Baghdad, has long been a stronghold for insurgent groups, including al-Qaida militants, since the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003.

Large parts of the province are now in the hands of militant groups since last week after bloody clashes with Iraqi security forces. The militant groups later seized swathes of territories after the Iraqi security forces withdrew from their posts in Nineveh and other predominantly Sunni provinces.


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Editor: Yamei Wang
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