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“Iraq Headed for Chaos Unless Politicians Unite, UN Says”
by Reuters   
July 12th, 2014

Iraqi soldiers backed by Shi'ite militias fought Sunni rebels for control of a military base northeast of Baghdad on Saturday as a U.N. envoy warned of chaos if divided lawmakers do not make progress on Sunday towards naming a government.

Forces loyal to Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki launched an early morning push to repel Islamic State militants who fought their way on Thursday into a military base on the edge of Muqdadiya, 80 km (50 miles) northeast of the capital.

Heavy fighting raged for hours and was continuing on Saturday afternoon, local security sources said.

Sources at the morgue and hospital in the nearby town of Baquba said they had received the bodies of 15 Shi'ite militia fighters transferred after the morning's fighting.

State TV also reported 24 "terrorists" had been killed. Seven civilians including children from nearby villages were killed by helicopter gunship fire, police and medics said.

The Sunni militants had moved toward the base after seizing the town of Sadur just to the north, another security source and eyewitnesses said. They were equipped with artillery and mortars and drove vehicles including captured tanks and Humvees.

In the western city of Falluja, a hospital received three bodies and 18 wounded people on Saturday after army helicopters bombed the city, government health official Ahmed al-Shami said.

Kurdish peshmerga security forces attacked Islamic State positions in Jalawla late Friday night, killing at least 15 militants and three Kurdish security personnel, spokesman Halgurd Hikmat said. The town, in the eastern province of Diyala near the Iranian border, was seized by insurgents last month.

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