Iraqi Shiite worshipers attend Friday noon prayer in the central shrine city of Karbala on October 31, 2014. AFP PHOTO/MOHAMMED SAWAF
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Iraq's most senior Shiite religious figure called on the government Friday to rush to the aid of Sunni tribes battling ISIS, after the militant group executed at least 220 tribesmen west of Baghdad this week.Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the U.S. military's Joint Chiefs of Staff, said the United States was prepared to expand its limited mission in Iraq into Anbar province, but only if the government armed the Sunni tribesmen.Elsewhere Friday, Iraqi forces attacked the strategic jihadist-held town of Baiji, which has been out of government control for months, and regained control of two areas, army officers said.The Baiji assault could also open the way to breaking a months-old jihadist siege of government forces defending Iraq's largest oil refinery, which is located near the town.The major general said the Baiji assault had been interrupted by an attack on the command headquarters located at Tikrit University.A series of bomb attacks struck marketplaces near Baghdad, killing at least 15 people, Iraqi officials said.
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