ISIL battles Iraqi forces for control of Tal Afar

Published June 16th, 2014 - 06:06 GMT

There are conflicting reports that militants of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) have overrun the strategic city of Tal Afar in Nineveh province.

Some reports on the situation in Tal Afar said late on Sunday that the city had been seized by the militants following heavy fighting with Iraqi forces.

"The city was overrun by militants. Severe fighting took place, and many people were killed," Reuters quoted an unnamed city official as saying.

Earlier in the day, it was reported that Iraqi troops and local tribesmen had foiled an attack by the militants belonging to the ISIL on the city.

According to local officials, 8,000 tribal fighters have joined the battle against the militants in Nineveh province.

Reports also said that Iraqi troops managed to recapture two towns from the militants, north of the Iraqi capital Baghdad. Army forces are now pushing the militants back from other areas they had captured.

On June 10, the ISIL militants took control of Mosul, which was followed by the fall of Tikrit, located 140 kilometers (87 miles) northwest of the capital. Hundreds of thousands of people have been forced out of their homes since then.

The ISIL militants have vowed to continue their raid toward Baghdad.

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has blamed Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, denouncing the Al Saud regime as a major supporter of global terrorism.

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