By Kamal Namaa ANBAR, IRAQ(Reuters) - Sunni fighters have seized a border post on the Iraq-Syria frontier, security sources said, smashing a line drawn by colonial powers a century ago in a campaign to create an Islamic Caliphate from the Mediterranean Sea to Iran. The militants, led by the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), first moved into the nearby town of al-Qaim on Friday, pushing out security forces, the sources said on Saturday. Once border guards heard that al-Qaim had fallen, they left their posts and militants moved in, the sources said. Sameer al-Shwiali, media adviser to the commander of Iraq's anti-terrorist squad, told Reuters the Iraqi army was still in control of al-Qaim. Al-Qaim and its neighboring Syrian counterpart Albukamal are on a strategic supply route. A three-year-old civil war in Syria has left most of eastern Syria in the hands of Sunni militants, now including the Albukamal-Qaim crossing. The Albukamal gate is run by al Qaeda's official Syria branch, the Nusra Front, which has clashed with ISIL but has sometimes agreed to localized truces when it suits both sides. The head of the Syrian Observatory for Human Rights monitoring group, Rami Abdulrahman, said ISIL had pushed the Nusra Front out from many areas of eastern Syria in the past few days and their capture of al-Qaim will allow them to quickly move to the Syrian side. ISIL already controls territory around the Albukamal gate, effectively pinching the Nusra Front between its forces in Syria and those in neighboring Iraq, said Abdulrahman, who tracks the violence. The al Qaeda offshoot has captured swathes of territory in northwest and central Iraq, including the second city, Mosul. They have seized large amounts of weaponry from the fleeing Iraqi army and looted banks. World powers are deadlocked over the crises in Iraq and Syria. Shi'ite Iran has said it will not hesitate to protect Shi'ite shrines if asked by Baghdad but Sunni-run Saudi Arabia has warned Tehran to stay out of Iraq. U.S. President Barack Obama has offered up to 300 U.S. special forces advisers to help the Iraqi government recapture territory seized by ISIL and other Sunni armed groups across northern and western Iraq. But he has held off granting a request for air strikes to protect the government and renewed a call for Iraq's long-serving Shi'ite prime minister, Nuri al-Maliki, to do more to overcome sectarian divisions that have fueled resentment among the Sunni minority. SHI'ITES MOBILIZE The fighting has divided Iraq along sectarian lines. The Kurds have expanded their zone in the northeast to include the oil city of Kirkuk, which they regard as part of Kurdistan, while Sunnis have taken ground in the west. The government has mobilized Shi'ite militia to send volunteers to the front lines. In Baghdad's Shi'ite slum of Sadr City, thousands of fighters wearing military fatigues marched through the streets. They carried rocket-propelled grenades, semi-automatic rifles and trucks had mounted long-range rockets, including the new 3-metre “Muqtada 1” missile, named after Shi'ite cleric Muqtada Sadr, who has tens of thousands of followers. Sadr has yet to throw his fighters into the recent wave of fighting but has accused Maliki of mishandling the crisis. "These brigades are sending a message of peace. They are the brigades of peace. They are ready to sacrifice their souls and blood for the sake of defending Iraq and its generous people," a man on a podium said as the troops marched by. SUNNI INFIGHTING The fighting, with strong sectarian overtones, is pushing the country towards civil war. Iraq's largest refinery, Baiji, 200 km (130 miles) north of the capital near Tikrit, has been transformed into a battlefield. "Last night, three attacks on Baiji refinery were repelled and attackers ... More than 70 terrorists were killed and more than 15 vehicles were destroyed,” said Major-General Qassim al-Moussawi, spokesman for the Iraqi military's commander-in-chief. He showed aerial footage of cars and people being blown up but details of the fighting could not be independently confirmed. The conflict has displaced tens of thousands. On Saturday evening, 15 people were wounded by a army helicopter strike in the village of Al Bu Saif, south of Mosul city, medics said. A health official in Mosul said the wounded included two children and seven women. "Most of them are from the same family. Three are in critical condition from shrapnel wounds," he said. As in Syria, ISIL has started to clash with other Sunni militias in Iraq. In the town of Hawija, ISIL and members of the Naqshbandi Army, made up of former army officers as well as loyalists of Saddam Hussein's former ruling Baath party, started fighting on Friday evening, witnesses said. They said the clashes, in a dispute over power, killed 15 people. "Hawija is falling apart," a senior tribal figure from the community said before the clashes. "There are so many groups working with ISIL. Each group has its agenda." Hawija could be seen as the spark for Iraq's current armed Sunni insurgency. In April 2013, Sunni protesters said security forces shot dead at least 50 of them. They were demanding greater rights from the Shi'ite-led government. After the killings, violence soared in Iraq. (Additional reporting by Ahmed Rasheed in Baghdad; Writing by Oliver Holmes Editing by Andrew Roche)
Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting
Jason Momoa shared an Instagram photo of him getting an MRI, which prompted fan concern. The star recently underwent hernia surgery but is reportedly ‘OK.’
- The Daily Beast
Texas DPS/InstagramUVALDE, Texas—The 18-year-old gunman who opened fire at a Texas elementary school, killing at least 19 kids and two adults, bought two assault rifles just after his birthday this month and appeared to send some ominous Instagram messages hours before the massacre.Although Salvador Ramos was described as “quiet” by numerous people who knew him, a young woman who worked with him at Wendy’s until March detected an aggressive streak. Several former friends said he had stopped show
- USA TODAY
Texas school shooter lived in Uvalde: What we know about gunman, motive and how weapons were obtained
At least 18 children and as many as 3 adults were killed at Robb Elementary School in Uvalde, Texas, officials say. Here's what we know about gunman.
Queen Elizabeth previously announced that she would not be attending any garden parties, which celebrate guests' public service, this year
Karlyn Serane Ramirez wanted to make the world a better place and thought joining the Army was the best way to do that. Her greatest danger, however, was her relationship with another soldier. She grew up in Del Rio, Texas and came from a long line of military women. Both her mother and aunt had served and she followed in their path. “She went to college for a few years, got an associate’s degree, and then decided that the military would probably be a better fit for her,” sister Roxanna Ramirez
The extremist Arizona Republican shared misinformation about the gunman that was circulating on right-wing networks.
People Are Praising This Woman For Her Simple Solution To Getting Rid Of Camel Toe When Wearing Biker Shorts Or Leggings
"Saw this at 5 a.m., tried it at 8 a.m. — confirming at 11 a.m. that IT WORKS. YOU ARE AN ANGEL!"View Entire Post ›
- Fort Worth Star-Telegram
Sen. Ted Cruz was ripped in angry and profanity-laced reactions to his social media post about the Uvalde shooting.
- Rolling Stone
Conservative media responded to the massacre by speculating recklessly and pushing every harebrained solution imaginable — except gun control
- NBC Sports BayArea
Steph Curry, LeBron James and other NBA players supported Steve Kerr's message to politicians in the wake of the mass shooting at an elementary school in Uvalde, Texas.
Pastor Admits to 'Adultery' During Service — But Then Female Church Member Takes the Mic: 'I Was Just 16'
"This long-held secret first came to light when a woman in the church came forward," pastor John B. Lowe II's church said in a statement
- Rolling Stone
The former Heisman Trophy winner is riding Trump's endorsement — and not much else — to a showdown with incumbent Sen. Raphael Warnock
The characters on "This Is Us" have had a journey that spans generations. On May 24, their story ended with a fittingly emotional conclusion.
- In The Know by Yahoo
Couple who work as waitresses show how much they make in tips during on normal Saturday: ‘Dream life’
A pair of waitresses are going viral after showing chronicling a regular Saturday on the job.
Kourtney Kardashian and Travis Barker tied the knot over the weekend during a romantic Italian ceremony attended by close friends and family
- Raleigh News and Observer
“Charlie’s death reminds us that these horses face so many challenges to their survival.”
- The Daily Beast
via Facebook A church pastor in Indiana publicly confessed to his congregation this week that he’d committed “adultery” two decades ago—but he was quickly called out by a woman who took the stage to say she had only been 16 when he preyed on her.The public confrontation that played out Sunday at the New Life Christian Church and World Outreach in Warsaw has now sparked an investigation by local prosecutors in Kosciusko County, according to local reports.Video of the incident shot by an attendee
Johnny Depp's trial went off the rails as Amber Heard's lawyer accused a witness of following a Depp superfan identified as 'That Umbrella Guy' on Twitter
Morgan Night appeared to contradict testimony Amber Heard gave about "the Hicksville incident." He said a trailer the couple slept in wasn't trashed.
- Miami Herald
Former Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams has legally changed his name.
- Popular Mechanics
Ukraine wants long-range weapons that can target Russian forces far behind enemy lines. It just might get them.