Officials: ISIS Seizes Town In Western Iraq Near U.S. Military Base


Islamic State militants have seized much of the western Iraqi city of al-Baghdadi, just miles away from an air base where U.S. Marines are training Iraqis, according to Reuters.

The town of al-Baghdadi has been under attack for months by ISIS militants who have taken large areas of northern and western Iraq last year. 

"Ninety percent of al-Baghdadi district has fallen under the control of the insurgents," disctrict manager Naji Arak told the site.

Pentagon spokeswoman Naval Commander Elissa Smith told reporters that "heavy fighting" did indeed take place in the area on Thursday, but no direct fighting took place near the U.S. military base. 

"There was no direct attack on the al-Asad air base," the spokeswoman said. But she did confirm reports of "ineffective indirect fire in the vicinity of the base."

Officials from the Jazeera and Badiya operation command told reporters that the attack came from two directions as they advanced on the town. Although insurgents encounted the the heavily-fortified al-Asad air base, they were unable to break into it. 

Currently, there are about 320 U.S. Marines stationed at the base. They are training those of the Iraqi 7th Division to fight against the insurgency. The base has been struck by mortar fire once since December. 

Injury and death reports are still unclear.

Sources: Fox News, Reuters Photo Credit: Wikimedia Commons, NBC News


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