Members of a newly formed brigade of Iraqi Shiite fighters parade in military fatigues with their weapons on June 24, 2014 in the southern city of Basra. (AFP PHOTO/HAIDAR MOHAMMED ALI)
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Militants attacked one of Iraq's largest air bases Wednesday as the first U.S. teams arrived to assess the Iraqi security forces and decide how to help counter a mounting Sunni insurgency.U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry urged leaders of Iraq's autonomous Kurdish region Tuesday to stand with Baghdad in the face of the onslaught.Militants including ISIS and allied Sunni tribes battled Iraqi forces in the town of Yathrib, 90 km north of Baghdad, into the early hours of Wednesday, witnesses and the deputy head of the municipality said. About 90 additional troops arrived in Iraq to begin helping establish a Joint Operations Center in Baghdad with Iraqi forces.State TV showed troop reinforcements flying into the compound by helicopter to fend off the assault.Local tribal leaders said that they were negotiating with both the Shiite-led government and Sunni fighters to allow the tribes to run the plant if Iraqi forces withdraw.
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