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Iraq PM says Kurdish Arbil becoming a base for ISIS militants

Published on Jul 9, 2014 8:05 PM
 
A picture taken on July 3, 2014, shows the building of Iraq's autonomous Kurdistan region's parliament in Arbil, Kurdistan's capital in northern Iraq. Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday the Kurdish-controlled city of Arbil was becoming an operations base for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group that seized swathes of northern and western Iraq last month. -- PHOTO: AFP

BAGHDAD (REUTERS) - Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki said on Wednesday the Kurdish-controlled city of Arbil was becoming an operations base for the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) militant group that seized swathes of northern and western Iraq last month.

Maliki is under pressure as Sunni Muslim militants, led by the al Qaeda offshoot Islamic State, hold large parts of the north and west of the country and have threatened to march on the capital. "We will never be silent about Arbil becoming a base for the operations of the Islamic State and Baathists and Al Qaeda and the terrorists," Maliki said in his weekly televised address.

Maliki's relationship with Kurdish President Massoud Barzani has deteriorated amid the sectarian insurgency that has threatened to split the country.

Barzani last week asked the parliament of the autonomous Kurdish region to plan a referendum on Kurdish independence, signalling his impatience with Baghdad.

 
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