Middle East

Iraq militants renew assault after offer rejected

An off-duty Shiite volunteer from brigades loyal to radical cleric Muqtada al-Sadr takes up position with his weapon on a vehicle while returning home, in Samarra July 13, 2014.(REUTERS/Thaier al-Sudani)

BAGHDAD: Militants Monday assaulted the final area of the Iraqi town of Dhuluiyah still outside their control, after tribesmen rejected an offer to let them enter uncontested, an official said.

Jihadist-led militants launched a major offensive on June 9 that has overrun large areas north and west of Baghdad, and appear to be making a renewed push to gain ground after a period in which battle lines were relatively static.

The militants began their attack on Dhuluiyah, just 80 kilometers north of Baghdad, Sunday and have overrun most of the town, local official Marwan Mitaab said.

The militants negotiated with tribesmen in Al-Jubur, a lone area of the town still holding out, offering to spare the lives of their fighters and security forces if they surrendered, Mitaab said.

But the tribesmen rejected the offer, and insurgents Monday launched a renewed assault on the area in southern Dhuluiyah.

A resident also said the fighting was ongoing and that Al-Jubur was the last area that has yet to fall.

A senior police officer confirmed there had been negotiations with the militants, and added that people were fleeing across the Tigris river in boats.

The militants demolished a bridge across the river Sunday, and also blew up police stations, a courthouse and the main municipality building.





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