People chant anti-terrorism slogans during gathering to protest the Islamic State group's blockade on Amirli at Tahrir Square in Baghdad, Iraq, Thursday, Aug. 28, 2014. (AP Photo/ Hadi Mizban)
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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.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.A colonel in the Kurdish forces said they had launched an attack that has seen the jihadists pushed back from several villages in the area of the oil field.
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