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Militants seize two more towns in Iraq

Posted on Aug 03 2014 | IANS

Baghdad, Aug 3 : The Islamic State (IS) militants captured the town of Sinjar in Iraq's northern province of Nineveh, a day after they seized the town of Zumar, a security official said Sunday.

The IS militants entered Sinjar, some 100 km west of Nineveh's capital city of Mosul, early Sunday after clashes with the Kurdish security forces, the Peshmerga, the official told Xinhua.

"The militants raised the black flag of the IS on the buildings of the local government and the town's municipality," the official said.

Thousands of families in the town have left their homes to the nearby Sinjar mountain and the city of Zakho in the semi-autonomous region of Kurdistan.

The majority of the people from the town of Sinjar are from the Yazidi minority ethnic Kurd origins.

The religion of Yazidis incorporates elements of many faiths, as a result of some of their beliefs and the mystery surrounding their religion, many Muslims and non-Muslims have considered Yazidis as infidels.

This has led to violent attacks by extremist Islamist groups against the minority.

There are about 600,000 Yazidis remaining in Iraq with roughly 80 percent of them living in the towns of Sinjar and Bashika in Nineveh province.

The IS militants are in full control of the town of Zumar, some 70 km northwest of Mosul, since early Saturday after fierce battles with the Peshmerga who controlled the area.

The IS militants also seized many villages around Zumar and nearby small oilfields of Ayn Zala, Butma and others, in addition of taking control of the strategic oil pipelines which Iraq used to pump crude exported via Turkey.

IS, previously known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Greater Syria (ISIS), captured swathes of territories in Iraq including cities of Mosul and Tikrit, after clashes broke out with government forces June 10.

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