Sunni militants take over Iraq's Tal Afar, including airport
ISIS took over control of the northern city of Mosul earlier this month (File Archive/AFP)
Extreme Sunni militants are now in control of the Shiite town of Tal Afar and its airport in northern Iraq, according to Agence France Presse Monday.
"The town of Tal Afar and the airport... are completely under the control of the militants," an official told AFP on the condition of anonymity.
Related witnesses reported that security forces left the town after several days of heavy fighting, leaving the militants in control.
Tal Afar, the largest area in the province of Nineveh that previously remained outside militant control, is considered a strategic town due to the fact that it lies along one of the main routes that connects Iraq to eastern Syria.
Sunni militants also took over control of the third and final border crossing between Syria and Iraq Monday, according to the AFP report. All crossings are now no longer in government control.
In related news from Iraq, militants attacked and killed all parties to an Iraqi convoy transporting 69 detainees in the Babil province. Eight gunmen were also killed in fighting in the Babil province.
The militant offensive on Iraq has been developing with several months but recently gained new momentum this past month, with jihadist Islamic States of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS) leading the surge with its capture of the city of Mosul in early June.