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Iran Press TV

More Iraqi volunteers help army to defend Baghdad

Iran Press TV

Fri Jun 13, 2014 2:36PM GMT

More Iraqi volunteers flock to recruitment centers in order to join the army in its fight against Takfiri militants, officials say.

The report comes after militants belonging to the al-Qaeda-affiliated Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) vowed to march toward the Iraqi capital.

Iraqi officials say tens of thousands of volunteers have answered a call to join security forces and push back ISIL terrorists.

Sources say more than 30,000 people have signed up to defend Baghdad by Friday.

"There are no salaries," media outlets quoted a senior Iraqi official as saying, adding, "It shows just how keen people are to fight [militants]."

The use of volunteers is part of what officials have described as a new strategy to protect Baghdad and its surroundings.

Meanwhile, Iraq's Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani urged anyone who can carry a weapon to "defend the country, the citizens and the holy sites."

This comes as Iraq is carrying out a new plan to protect the capital Baghdad against a major militant offensive pushing closer to the southern regions of the country.

The Iraqi Interior Ministry says the plan consists of intensifying the deployment of forces, increasing intelligence efforts and the use of technology.

Earlier, government forces clashed with Takfiri militants advancing on the city of Baquba, north of Baghdad.

The militants have already captured two provincial capitals this week, Tikrit in Salahuddin Province and Mosul in Nineveh. Some reports say they are now gathering for a new attempt to take the city of Samarra.

UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has condemned the acts carried out by the militants, calling on the international community to support the Iraqi government's fight against Takfiris.

JR/AB/SS



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