Iraqi security forces and Shiite volunteers patrol at Imam Wais village in Diyala province, August 22, 2014. (REUTERS/Stringer)
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Iraqi security forces backed by volunteer militiamen Thursday retook several villages located on the way to the town of Amerli, which jihadists have besieged for months, officers said.Senior Iraqi officials and officers frequently report large militant death tolls, but they are usually impossible to independently confirm.In addition to the Iraqi forces advancing toward Amerli from the south, a civilian volunteer commander said that thousands of Shiite militiamen from groups including Asaib Ahl al-Haq and the Badr Organization were gathering in the Tuz Khurmatu area, north of Amerli, in preparation for a battle to break the siege.
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