|Iraqi airstrike kills 40 ISIL terrorists in Tikrit||
At least 40 takfiri militants were killed in an airstrike carried out by the Iraqi military on their positions in the central city of Tikrit on Sunday.
Iraqi state television said the airstrike targeted a group of militants in the city, which is the capital of Salahuddin Province, north of Baghdad.
The takfiri militants, led by the so-called Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), have overrun most of one province and parts of three others north of Baghdad. The terrorists also captured four cities as well as a border crossing with Syria during Friday and Saturday clashes in Anbar Province.
Iraqi security forces announced that they have killed a senior ISIL commander in clashes near Tal Afar region.
On Saturday, Iraq's army spokesman General Qassim Atta showed a video clip of aerial attacks on the positions of the ISIL in the north of Tal Afar area.
“Iraqi forces have killed more than 50 terrorists in aerial attacks on their positions in the north of Tal Afar,” he told reporters.
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki has repeatedly blamed Saudi Arabia and Qatar for the security crisis and growing terrorism in his country, and denounced the Al Saud regime as a major supporter of global terrorism.
On June 13, Iraq’s top Shia cleric, Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, called on the Iraqi people to join the battle against the terrorists and defend the country. Iraqi media say more than two million people have so far voiced their readiness to join the fight.
On Saturday, a military parade was held in Baghdad in solidarity with the Iraqi army, which is engaged in heavy fighting against the terrorist group, the ISIL. The parade was called by Iraqi cleric Muqtada al-Sadr.
BBC’s report on Baiji refinery fall dismissed
Meanwhile, Iraqi Deputy Prime Minister Hussein al-Shahristani dismissed some media's unsubstantiated allegations claiming that ISIL members have gained control of the Baiji oil refinery.
Some media outlets, in particular BBC Arabic, had reported that ninety percent of the Baiji oil refinery had fallen to the hands of the ISIL terrorists, Shahristani said in a statement, underscoring that the reports were an outright lie and the terrorists couldn’t even enter the refinery, Al-Alam reported.
The ISIL terrorists have suffered heavy losses during the clashes in recent days, Shahristani added.
Shahristani urged all media outlets to be meticulous in their reporting of news and to trust not unsubstantiated allegations.
Iraqi troops has foiled an ISIL offensive on the Baiji oil refinery, a police source said, adding that terrorists had planned to attack the refinery using three explosive-laden fuel tankers.
The official spoke on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to talk to journalists.
Terrorists capture fourth town in Anbar
In another development, militants seized another town in Iraq's western Anbar province, the fourth to fall in two days, officials said Sunday, in what is shaping up to be a major offensive in one of Iraq's most restive regions.
According to AP, the officials said the militants captured Rutba, about 150 kilometers east of the Jordanian border, late Saturday. Residents were negotiating Sunday with the militants to leave after an army unit on the town's outskirts threatened to start shelling.
The towns of Qaim, Rawah, Anah and Rutba are the first seized in predominantly Sunni Anbar province since fighters from ISIL overran the city of Fallujah and parts of the provincial capital of Ramadi earlier this year.
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